Is the Diagnostic Yield of Upper GI Endoscopy Improved by the Use of Explicit Panel-Based Appropriateness Criteria?

Published in: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, v. 52, no. 3, Sep. 2000, p. 333-341

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Florian Froehlich, Claude Repond, Beat Mullhaupt, John Paul Vader, Bernard Burnand, Catherine Schneider, Isabelle Pache, Joel Thorens, Jean-Pierre Rey, Vanessa DeBosset, Vincent Wietlisbach, Michael Fried, Robert W. Dubois, Robert H. Brook, Jean-Jacques Gonvers

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BACKGROUND: Increasing the appropriateness of use of upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is important to improve quality of care while at the same time containing costs. This study explored whether detailed explicit appropriateness criteria significantly improve the diagnostic yield of upper GI endoscopy. METHODS: Consecutive patients referred for upper GI endoscopy at 6 centers (1 university hospital, 2 district hospitals, 3 gastroenterology practices) were prospectively included over a 6-month period. After controlling for disease presentation and patient characteristics, the relationship between the appropriateness of upper GI endoscopoy, as assessed by explicit Swiss criteria developed by the RAND/UCLA panel method, and the presence of relevant endoscopic lesions was analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 2088 patients (60% outpatients, 57% men) were included. Analysis was restricted to the 1681 patients referred for diagnostic upper GI endoscopy. Forty-six percent of upper GI endoscopies were judged to be appropriate, 15% uncertain, and 39% inappropriate by the explicit criteria. No cancer was found in upper GI endoscopies judged to be inappropriate. Upper GI endoscopies judged appropriate or uncertain yielded significantly more relevant lesions (60%) than did those judged to be inappropriate (37%; odds ratio 2.6: 95% CI [2.2, 3.2]). In multivariate analyses, the diagnostic yield of upper GI endoscopy was significantly influenced by appropriateness, patient gender and age, treatment setting, and symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Upper GI endoscopies performed for appropriate indications resulted in detecting significantly more clinically relevant lesions than did those performed for inappropriate indications. In addition, no upper GI endoscopy that resulted in a diagnosis of cancer was judged to be inappropriate. The use of such criteria improves patient selection for upper GI endoscopy and can thus contribute to efforts aimed at enhancing the quality and efficiency of care.

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