Is it Effective and Cost-saving to Send all Tonsillectomy Specimens for Histopathological Examinations?

Document Type : Original

Authors

1 Otolaryngology Research Centre, Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Joint doctoral student with Deakin University (Australia) and University of Bayreuth (Germany), Researcher at Institute for Medical Management and Health Sciences (IMG)

3 Health Human Resources Research Centre, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

4 MSc in Biostatistics, MA in General Psychology, Otolaryngology Research Centre, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

5 Emergency Medicine Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. Health Human Resources Research Centre, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Abstract

Introduction:
The present study aimed to investigate the necessity or unnecessity of sending all tonsillectomy specimens for pathological examinations in Shiraz, Iran; moreover, it examined malignancies, cost-saving, causes, and the ways to prevent sending all specimens.
 
Materials and Methods:
In the first retrospective phase of the study, a checklist was used to gather demographic, clinical, and cost information of 18,437 tonsillectomy specimens during 2004-2018 in Shiraz, Iran. In order to estimate the cost of each pathology specimen, the cost components, including human resources costs and consumables, were collected in the private and public sectors separately and divided by the number of cases performed. Finally, the financial burden resulting from these services (in the study centers) was calculated by multiplying each item's cost by the total number of these services.
 
Results:
Out of the total 18,437 histopathology specimens examined, only 118 (0.64%) samples were identified with unusual diagnoses, of which 66 (56%) cases had malignant tumors, and the remaining 52 (44%) samples included benign tumors (n=41), infections (n=2), and other problems (n=9). The second phase results also indicated that according to the ear, nose, and throat experts, the rules and regulations governing the country's health system and the suspicion of tumors were the main reasons for sending tonsil specimens for pathological examinations. Generally, the annual cost-saving rates in the studied public and private centers were $87,919 and $179,530 purchasing power parity, respectively.
Conclusions:
According to the results, sending tonsillectomy specimens should only be limited to nonroutine ones for economic-clinical reasons.

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