Study Suggests Cost-Effectiveness of Resident-Performed Cataract Surgery for Uninsured Patients

A study at a Seattle hospital suggests that supervised, resident-performed cataract surgery is successful and cost-effective in an underserved patient population, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Ophthalmology, a JAMA Network publication.

The literature regarding resident physician influence on patient cost and surgical outcomes is inconclusive, Daniel B. Moore, M.D., and Mark A. Slabaugh, M.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, write in the study background.

The study included 143 consecutive uninsured patients undergoing cataract procedures performed by attending-supervised resident physicians at the University of Washington from July 2005 through June 2011.

The patients’ mean (average) preoperative best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 1.09 (Snellen equivalent, 20/300). The final recorded mean BCVA was 0.27 (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) at a median (midpoint) follow-up of 16 months. The average health care cost per patient was $3,437, according to the study results.

“These data support the success and cost-effectiveness of supervised, resident-performed cataract surgery in an underserved patient population. This study lends support for continuing this traditional scheme of surgical training and education,” the authors conclude.

(JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online May 30, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamainternmed.2013.202.