Diagnosis-related group in colon surgery: Identifying areas of improvement to drive high-value care

Byron D. Hughes, Samantha A. Moore, Hemalkumar B. Mehta, Yong Shan, Anthony J. Senagore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Diagnosis-related group (DRG) migration is defined as the reassignment of colectomy patients from DRG 331 to 330 based exclusively on postoperative complications. Strategic and comparative application of this metric has the potential to demonstrate baseline and excessive rates of complications related directly to patient care differences across institutions. The aim of this study was to report the variability of DRG migration across United States hospitals and its impact on overall cost and length of stay (LOS). This study investigated the variability of DRG migration rates across United States hospitals polling 5 per cent of the national Medicare data. The study endpoints were total cost, LOS, and DRG migration rate. Hospitals were classified into tertiles for low (0.1–16.6%), moderate (16.7–23.0%), and high (23.1–83.3%) DRG migration rates. The study included 5120 patients from 615 hospitals. DRG migration rates for hospitals ranged from 0.1 per cent to 83.3 per cent, with 157 in the low, 183 in the moderate, and 364 in the high tertile. DRG migration resulted in a progressively increased LOS and hospital costs from the lowest to highest tertile. Several diagnoses were identified which are suggestive of failure to integrate evidence-based processes of care across the tertiles. The data confirm a wide variation in DRG migration rates from DRG 331 to 330 based only on postoperative complications. These ranges allow for the potential definition of both best practice, and opportunities for quality improvement with respect to postoperative complications, identification of hospital outliers, and the economics of care as part of a value-based care program.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)256-260
    Number of pages5
    JournalAmerican Surgeon
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2019

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery


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