The Choice of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implementation (TAVI): Do Patient Co-morbidity and Hospital Ownership Type Matter?
Innovative technologies challenge healthcare systems, as evidence on costs and benefits frequently usually are slow to reflect new technology. We investigated these dynamics for Germany, using the emergence of transcatheter aortic valve implementation (TAVI) as an alternative to conventional aortic valve replacements (CAVR).
We focused on the role of patient co-morbidity—which would be a medical explanation for adopting TAVI—and hospital ownership status, hypothesizing that for-profit facilities are more likely to capitalize on the favorable reimbursement conditions of TAVI.
The analysis uses claims data from the Techniker Krankenkasse, the largest health insurance fund in Germany, for the years 2009–2015, covering 2892 patients with TAVI and 9523 with CAVR. The decision on TAVI versus CAVR was estimated for patient-level data, that is, socioeconomic data as well as co-morbidity. At the hospital level, we included the ownership type. We also controlled for effects of the respective owner (rather than the type of ownership), including a random intercept.
While the co-morbidity score of TAVI patients was much higher in the early years, over time, the score almost converged with that of CAVR patients. This is in agreement with emerging evidence that suggests the use of TAVI also leads to better patient outcomes. Our results indicate that the type of ownership does not drive the switch to TAVI. We found little, if any, effect from the respective owner, regardless of ownership type.
Overall, the effects of co-morbidity suggest that providers acted responsibly when adopting TAVI while evidence was still emerging.
Udo Schneider was responsible for the study design, the statistical analysis, and the preparation of the manuscript draft. Andreas Schmid prepared data for hospital ownership and contributed to the statistical analysis, literature review, and the final manuscript. Roland Linder was responsible for the medical setting of the study and critical assessment of the statistical analysis. Dirk Horenkamp-Sonntag designed the pick-up of the diagnoses for the co-morbidity index and its interpretation. Frank Verheyen was responsible for study design and study co-ordination.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No funding was received for the study. Udo Schneider, Andreas Schmid, Roland Linder, Dirk Horenkamp-Sonntag, and Frank Verheyen declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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