The choice of cost data sources is crucial, because it influences the results of cost studies, decisions of hospital managers and ultimately national directives of policy makers. The main objective of this study was to compare a hospital cost accounting system in a French hospital group and the national cost study (ENC) considering the cost of organ recovery procedures. The secondary objective was to compare these approaches to the weighting method used in the ENC to assess organ recovery costs.
The resources consumed during the hospital stay and organ recovery procedure were identified and quantified retrospectively from hospital discharge abstracts and the national discharge abstract database. Identified items were valued using hospital cost accounting, followed by 2010–2011 ENC data, and then weighted using 2010–2011 ENC data. A Kruskal–Wallis test was used to determine whether at least two of the cost databases provided different results. Then, a Mann–Whitney test was used to compare the three cost databases.
The costs assessed using hospital cost accounting differed significantly from those obtained using the ENC data (Mann–Whitney; P-value < 0.001). In the ENC, the mean costs for hospital stays and organ recovery procedures were determined to be €4961 (SD €7295) and €862 (SD €887), respectively, versus €12,074 (SD €6956) and €4311 (SD €1738) for the hospital cost accounting assessment. The use of a weighted methodology reduced the differences observed between these two data sources.
Readers, hospital managers and decision makers must know the strengths and weaknesses of each database to interpret the results in an informed context.