An anesthesia medication cost scorecard--concepts for individualized feedback

J Med Syst. 2015 May;39(5):48. doi: 10.1007/s10916-015-0226-2. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


There is a growing emphasis on both cost containment and better quality health care. The creation of better methods for alerting providers and their departments to the costs associated with patient care is one tool for improving efficiency. Since anesthetic medications used in the OR setting are one easily monitored factor contributing to OR costs, anesthetic cost report cards can be used to assess the cost and, potentially the quality of care provided by each practitioner. An ongoing challenge is the identification of the most effective strategies to control costs, promote cost awareness and at the same time maximize quality. To test the scorecard concept, we utilized existing informatics systems to gather and analyze drug costs for anesthesia providers in the OR. Drug costs were analyzed by medication class for each provider. Individual anesthesiologist's anesthetic costs were collected and compared to the average costs of the overall group and individual trends over time were noted. We presented drug usage data in an electronic report card format. Real-time individual reports can be provided to anesthesiologists to allow for anesthetic cost feedback. Data provided can include number of cases, average case time, total anesthetic medication costs, and average anesthetic cost per case. Also included can be subcategories of pre-medication, antibiotics, hypnotics, local anesthetics, neuromuscular blocking drugs, analgesics, vasopressors, beta-blockers, anti-emetics, volatile anesthetics, and reversal agents. The concept of anesthetic cost report card should be further developed for individual feedback, and could include many other dimensions. Such a report card can be utilized to encourage lower anesthetic costs, quality improvement among anesthesia providers, and for cost containment in the operating room.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics / economics*
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Feedback*
  • Humans
  • Operating Rooms / economics*
  • Quality Improvement / economics
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*


  • Anesthetics