Background: A clinical pathway (CP) can standardize and improve perioperative care for a number of interventions. In hepatic surgery, however, pertinent evidence is very limited. This study was conducted to implement a CP for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients undergoing hepatectomy, and to evaluate its effects on hospital costs, length of hospital stay (LOHS) and early clinical outcomes. Materials and
Methods: Medical records for HCC patients undergoing hepatectomy were retrospectively reviewed before implementation of a CP(the non-CP group) from March 2012 to August 2012. This information was compared with the data collected prospectively from patients after implementation of the CP (the CP group) between September 2012 and April 2013. Hospital costs, LOHS and early clinical outcomes were evaluated and compared between groups.
Results: There were no significant differences in terms of patient clinical characteristics between the two groups. For clinical outcome measures, no significant differences were found in postoperative complications, mortality andreadmission rate. The hospital costs were significantly reduced from 24,844 RMB in the non-CP group to 19,761 RMB in the CP group (p<0.01). In addition, patients of the CP group also had shorter LOHS compared with the non-CP group (8.3 versus 12.3 days, p<0.001).
Conclusions: The CP proved to be an effective approach to minimize hospital costs and LOHS with hepatectomy for HCC without compromising patient care.