HOUSTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Limiting who can perform some cancer procedures can save lives and money, a study out of Houston's Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University said Friday.
Researchers looked at the outcome of the Whipple procedure, surgery performed on patients with pancreatic cancer.
"Hospitals and surgeons that have performed more of these procedures will have a lower mortality rate," said Dr. Vivian Ho, associate professor of medicine at Baylor and the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in health economics at Rice. "We may be better off by not allowing low-volume hospitals to perform these procedures. We should instead tell patients to go to high-volume hospitals."
Ho said the study's recommendations only apply to less common surgical procedures, not to more prevalent and potentially competitive procedures like open-heart surgery.
The study's findings were reported in Friday's issue of the journal Health Economics, Policy and Law.