Wednesday, November 30, 2022

W&M Research Shows World Pediatric Project’s Surgical Work Yields Economic Benefits

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WILLIAMSBURG — New research from William & Mary’s (W&M) Global Research Institute shows how health care nonprofits that work across a wider range of surgical interventions can aid in helping sick children live longer lives.

The new research was published in the BMJ Open Journal, with the paper’s lead author is Carrie Dolan, an assistant professor of health sciences at W&M.

The study examined over 18 years of data from the World Pediatric Project’s (WPP) work in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Six of the non-profit’s surgical specialties were examined in the study: ophthalmic, orthopedic, plastic, general, urology, and neurosurgery.

“We found scaling up these dedicated surgical programs for underprivileged children is both a cost-effective and essential component in improving overall pediatric health,” said Dolan. “Where prior research revealed economic benefits of specific pediatric programs, this new work proves the greater impact of projects that have a multiple-specialty scope.”

WPP commissioned the independent study to help evaluate the impact of its work.

It was determined that 5,815 years of healthy life were made possible by WPP’s surgical interventions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the period from 2002-2019 with each of those saved years costing about $2,600.

“More than a third of the children we treat receive care in more than one specialty area,” says Sarah Iracane, WPP’s chief program officer. “We can take a child with spina bifida, for instance, and provide her with care in orthopedics, urology, and neurosurgery — all the services she needs. We can refer patients within our own network of specialists. It’s a really unique and efficient way to deliver care in these settings.”

The study determined that short-term, recurrent surgical interventions could have substantial economic benefits. The research shows that investment in pediatric surgical interventions is cost-effective for the majority of specialties and that surgical intervention leads to economic benefits that are greater than the cost of the medical procedure.

WPP, which is celebrating its 20 year anniversary, is a global nonprofit that provides pediatric surgical care in 20 specialties. More information on WPP can be found on the organization’s website.

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