The Anesthesiologist’s Responsibility to the Market: An Economic Analysis of Intravenous and Inhalation Anesthesia’s Effect on Patient Cognitive Outcomes




Whitney, Samantha

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Spending on anesthetics in the healthcare market has steadily increased with little to no evidence of proportional improvements in patient outcomes. Investigations into this phenomenon illustrate that the effect of common complications are often minimized in treatment plans. Using QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year) metrics and data on the frequency and cost of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction, this research presents a comparative analysis of inhalation and intravenous general anesthesia methods. Each method is analyzed for their respective opportunity costs to the patient and to the greater healthcare system. The economic impact of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD) for both anesthetic methods is discussed to highlight the long-term costs that are typically neglected in the healthcare market. Finally, this thesis suggests an economically efficient course of treatment, examining the role of the clinician in advocating for cost- effective healthcare options in surgical care and evaluating the various policy approaches to minimizing costs while maximizing care.



Healthcare economics, Anesthesia, Post-Operative cognitive dysfunction