Clinical Focus

  • Anesthesia

Academic Appointments

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Committee on Health and Public Policy, American Society of Anesthesiologists (2015 - 2017)
  • Member, Committee on Anesthesia Workforce Trends, American Society of Anesthesiologists (2018 - Present)
  • Member, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine ad hoc Committee on Evidence- Based Clinical Practice Guidelines to Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain (2018 - Present)
  • Associate Editor, Anesthesiology (2019 - Present)
  • Associate Editor, Anesthesia and Analgesia (2015 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Medical Education:Pritzker School of Medicine University of Chicago Registrar (2010) IL
  • Board Certification: Anesthesia, American Board of Anesthesiology (2016)
  • PhD, University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business, Business Economics (2006)
  • Residency:Stanford University
  • Internship:Santa Clara Valley Medical CenterCAUnited States of America

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research examines questions of health economics and health policy, with a focus on economics and policy in the perioperative setting. Current research topics include the economics of treatments for chronic pain, as well as how physician practice organization affects outcomes and costs.

2018-19 Courses

All Publications

  • American Society for Enhanced Recovery and Perioperative Quality Initiative-4 Joint Consensus Statement on Persistent Postoperative Opioid Use: Definition, Incidence, Risk Factors, and Health Care System Initiatives. Anesthesia and analgesia Kent, M. L., Hurley, R. W., Oderda, G. M., Gordon, D. B., Sun, E., Mythen, M., Miller, T. E., Shaw, A. D., Gan, T. J., Thacker, J. K., McEvoy, M. D., POQI-4 Working Group 2019


    Persistent postoperative opioid use is thought to contribute to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. However, efforts to study and address the issue have been stymied by the lack of a standard definition, which has also hampered efforts to measure the incidence of and risk factors for persistent postoperative opioid use. The objective of this systematic review is to (1) determine a clinically relevant definition of persistent postoperative opioid use, and (2) characterize its incidence and risk factors for several common surgeries. Our approach leveraged a group of international experts from the Perioperative Quality Initiative-4, a consensus-building conference that included representation from anesthesiology, surgery, and nursing. A search of the medical literature yielded 46 articles addressing persistent postoperative opioid use in adults after arthroplasty, abdominopelvic surgery, spine surgery, thoracic surgery, mastectomy, and thoracic surgery. In opioid-naive patients, the overall incidence ranged from 2% to 6% based on moderate-level evidence. However, patients who use opioids preoperatively had an incidence of >30%. Preoperative opioid use, depression, factors associated with the diagnosis of substance use disorder, preoperative pain, and tobacco use were reported risk factors. In addition, while anxiety, sex, and psychotropic prescription are associated with persistent postoperative opioid use, these reports are based on lower level evidence. While few articles addressed the health policy or prescriber characteristics that influence persistent postoperative opioid use, efforts to modify prescriber behaviors and health system characteristics are likely to have success in reducing persistent postoperative opioid use.

    View details for PubMedID 30897590

  • Association of Overlapping Surgery With Perioperative Outcomes. JAMA Sun, E., Mello, M. M., Rishel, C. A., Vaughn, M. T., Kheterpal, S., Saager, L., Fleisher, L. A., Damrose, E. J., Kadry, B., Jena, A. B. 2019; 321 (8): 762–72


    Overlapping surgery, in which more than 1 procedure performed by the same primary surgeon is scheduled so the start time of one procedure overlaps with the end time of another, is of concern because of potential adverse outcomes.To determine the association between overlapping surgery and mortality, complications, and length of surgery.Retrospective cohort study of 66 430 operations in patients aged 18 to 90 years undergoing total knee or hip arthroplasty; spine surgery; coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery; and craniotomy at 8 centers between January 1, 2010, and May 31, 2018. Patients were followed up until discharge.Overlapping surgery (≥2 operations performed by the same surgeon in which ≥1 hour of 1 case, or the entire case for those <1 hour, occurs when another procedure is being performed).Primary outcomes were in-hospital mortality or complications (major: thromboembolic event, pneumonia, sepsis, stroke, or myocardial infarction; minor: urinary tract or surgical site infection) and surgery duration.The final sample consisted of 66 430 operations (mean patient age, 59 [SD, 15] years; 31 915 women [48%]), of which 8224 (12%) were overlapping. After adjusting for confounders, overlapping surgery was not associated with a significant difference in in-hospital mortality (1.9% overlapping vs 1.6% nonoverlapping; difference, 0.3% [95% CI, -0.2% to 0.7%]; P = .21) or risk of complications (12.8% overlapping vs 11.8% nonoverlapping; difference, 0.9% [95% CI, -0.1% to 1.9%]; P = .08). Overlapping surgery was associated with increased surgery length (204 vs 173 minutes; difference, 30 minutes [95% CI, 24 to 37 minutes]; P < .001). Overlapping surgery was significantly associated with increased mortality and increased complications among patients having a high preoperative predicted risk for mortality and complications, compared with low-risk patients (mortality: 5.8% vs 4.7%; difference, 1.2% [95% CI, 0.1% to 2.2%]; P = .03; complications: 29.2% vs 27.0%; difference, 2.3% [95% CI, 0.3% to 4.3%]; P = .03).Among adults undergoing common operations, overlapping surgery was not significantly associated with differences in in-hospital mortality or postoperative complication rates but was significantly associated with increased surgery length. Further research is needed to understand the association of overlapping surgery with these outcomes among specific patient subgroups.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2019.0711

    View details for PubMedID 30806696

  • Risk and Risk Factors for Chronic Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients With Newly Diagnosed Musculoskeletal Pain in the Neck, Shoulder, Knee, or Low Back. Annals of internal medicine Moshfegh, J., George, S. Z., Sun, E. 2018

    View details for DOI 10.7326/M18-2261

    View details for PubMedID 30557442

  • Intraoperative analgesic regimens and surgical duration after spine surgery Response NEUROSURGICAL FOCUS O'Connell, C., Sun, E., Ratliff, J. K., Veeravagu, A. 2018; 45 (3)
  • Treating Chronic Pain: Is Buprenorphine the (or Even an) Answer? Anesthesia and analgesia Sun, E. C., Mao, J., Anderson, T. A. 2018; 127 (2): 336–37

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003471

    View details for PubMedID 30028385

  • United States State-Level Variation in the Use of Neuraxial Analgesia During Labor for Pregnant Women. JAMA network open Butwick, A. J., Bentley, J., Wong, C. A., Snowden, J. M., Sun, E., Guo, N. 2018; 1 (8): e186567


    Neuraxial labor analgesia is recognized as the most effective method of providing pain relief during labor. Little is known about variation in the rates of neuraxial analgesia across US states. Identifying the presence and extent of variation may provide insights into practice variation and may indicate where access to neuraxial analgesia is inadequate.To test the hypothesis that variation exists in neuraxial labor analgesia use among US states.Retrospective, population-based, cross-sectional analysis using US birth certificate data. Participants were 2 625 950 women who underwent labor in 2015.State-specific prevalence of neuraxial analgesia per 100 women who underwent labor and variability in neuraxial analgesia use among states, assessed using multilevel multivariable regression modeling with the median odds ratio and the intraclass correlation coefficient to evaluate variation by state.In the study population of 2 625 950 women, 0.1% (n = 2010) were younger than 15 years, 7.0% (n = 183 546) were between the ages of 15 and 19 years, 23.6% (n = 620 118) were between the ages of 20 and 24 years, 29.6% (n = 777 957) were between the ages of 25 and 29 years, 26.0% (n = 683 656) were between the ages of 30 and 34 years, 11.4% (n = 298 237) were between the ages of 35 and 39 years, 2.2% (n = 57 130) were between the ages of 40 and 44 years, and 0.1% (n = 3296) were between the ages of 45 and 54 years. More than 90% were privately insured or insured with Medicaid. Neuraxial analgesia was used by 73.1% (n = 1 920 368) of women. After adjustment for antepartum, obstetric, and intrapartum factors, Maine had the lowest neuraxial analgesia prevalence (36.6%; 95% CI, 33.2%-40.1%) and Nevada the highest (80.1%; 95% CI, 78.3%-81.7%). The adjusted median odds ratio was 1.5 (95% CI, 1.4-1.6), and the intraclass correlation coefficient was 5.4% (95% CI, 4.0%-7.9%).Results of this study suggest that a small portion of the overall variation in neuraxial analgesia use is explained by US states. Unmeasured patient-level and hospital-level factors likely account for a large portion of the variation between states. Efforts should be made to understand what the main reasons are for this variation and whether the variation influences maternal or perinatal outcomes.

    View details for PubMedID 30646335

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6324365

  • Regional Anesthesia and Readmission Rates After Total Knee Arthroplasty. Anesthesia and analgesia Chi, D., Mariano, E. R., Memtsoudis, S. G., Baker, L. C., Sun, E. C. 2018


    Total knee arthroplasty is a commonly performed procedure and an important contributor to national health care spending. Reducing the incidence of readmission could have important consequences for patient well-being and relevant financial implications. Whether regional anesthesia techniques are associated with decreased readmission rates and costs among privately insured patients remains unknown.Using administrative claims data, we identified 138,362 privately insured patients 18-64 years of age who underwent total knee arthroplasty between 2002 and 2013. We then examined whether the use of a nerve block was associated with decreases in readmission rates and related costs during the 90 days after discharge. Our analyses were adjusted for potential confounding variables including medical comorbidities and previous use of opioids and other medications.After adjusting for patient demographics, comorbidities, and preoperative medication use, the adjusted 90-day readmission rate was 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.4) among patients who did not receive a block compared to 1.7% (95% CI, 1.1-2.4) among patients who did (odds ratio, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.91-1.09; P = .85). The adjusted readmission-related postoperative cost for patients who did not receive a block was $561 (95% CI, 502-619) and $574 (95% CI, 508-639) for patients who did (difference, $13; 95% CI, -75 to 102; P = .74). This lack of statistically significant differences held for subgroup and sensitivity analyses.Nerve blocks were not associated with improved measures of long-term postoperative resource use in this younger, privately insured study population.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003830

    View details for PubMedID 30286005

  • Association of Early Physical Therapy With Long-term Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients With Musculoskeletal Pain Jama Network Open Sun, E. C., Moshfegh, J., Rishel, C. A., Cook, C. E., Goode, A. P., George, S. Z. 2018; 1 (8)
  • Comparison of Anesthesia Times and Billing Patterns by Anesthesia Practitioners Jama Network Open Sun, E. C., Dutton, R. P., Jena, A. B. 2018; 1 (7)
  • Liposomal Bupivacaine Does Not Reduce Inpatient Opioid Prescription or Related Complications after Knee Arthroplasty: A Database Analysis. Anesthesiology Pichler, L., Poeran, J., Zubizarreta, N., Cozowicz, C., Sun, E. C., Mazumdar, M., Memtsoudis, S. G. 2018


    Although some trials suggest benefits of liposomal bupivacaine, data on real-world use and effectiveness is lacking. This study analyzed the impact of liposomal bupivacaine use (regardless of administration route) on inpatient opioid prescription, resource utilization, and opioid-related complications among patients undergoing total knee arthroplasties with a peripheral nerve block. It was hypothesized that liposomal bupivacaine has limited clinical influence on the studied outcomes.The study included data on 88,830 total knee arthroplasties performed with a peripheral nerve block (Premier Healthcare Database 2013 to 2016). Multilevel multivariable regressions measured associations between use of liposomal bupivacaine and (1) inpatient opioid prescription (extracted from billing) and (2) length of stay, cost of hospitalization, as well as opioid-related complications. To reflect the difference between statistical and clinical significance, a relative change of -15% in outcomes was assumed to be clinically important.Overall, liposomal bupivacaine was used in 21.2% (n = 18,817) of patients that underwent a total knee arthroplasty with a peripheral nerve block. Liposomal bupivacaine use was not associated with a clinically meaningful reduction in inpatient opioid prescription (group median, 253 mg of oral morphine equivalents, adjusted effect -9.3% CI -11.1%, -7.5%; P < 0.0001) and length of stay (group median, 3 days, adjusted effect -8.8% CI -10.1%, -7.5%; P < 0.0001) with no effect on cost of hospitalization. Most importantly, liposomal bupivacaine use was not associated with decreased odds for opioid-related complications.Liposomal bupivacaine was not associated with a clinically relevant improvement in inpatient opioid prescription, resource utilization, or opioid-related complications in patients who received modern pain management including a peripheral nerve block.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002267

    View details for PubMedID 29787389

  • Anesthesia Care Team Composition and Surgical Outcomes. Anesthesiology Sun, E. C., Miller, T. R., Moshfegh, J., Baker, L. C. 2018


    In the United States, anesthesia care can be provided by an anesthesia care team consisting of nonphysician providers (nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologist assistants) working under the supervision of a physician anesthesiologist. Nurse anesthetists may practice nationwide, whereas anesthesiologist assistants are restricted to 16 states. To inform policies concerning the expanded use of anesthesiologist assistants, the authors examined whether the specific anesthesia care team composition (physician anesthesiologist plus nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist assistant) was associated with differences in perioperative outcomes.A retrospective analysis was performed of national claims data for 443,098 publicly insured elderly (ages 65 to 89 yr) patients who underwent inpatient surgery between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2011. The differences in inpatient mortality, spending, and length of stay between cases where an anesthesiologist supervised an anesthesiologist assistant compared to cases where an anesthesiologist supervised a nurse anesthetist were estimated. The approach used a quasirandomization technique known as instrumental variables to reduce confounding.The adjusted mortality for care teams with anesthesiologist assistants was 1.6% (95% CI, 1.4 to 1.8) versus 1.7% for care teams with nurse anesthetists (95% CI, 1.7 to 1.7; difference -0.08; 95% CI, -0.3 to 0.1; P = 0.47). Compared to care teams with nurse anesthetists, care teams with anesthesiologist assistants were associated with non-statistically significant decreases in length of stay (-0.009 days; 95% CI, -0.1 to 0.1; P = 0.89) and medical spending (-$56; 95% CI, -334 to 223; P = 0.70).The specific composition of the anesthesia care team was not associated with any significant differences in mortality, length of stay, or inpatient spending.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002275

    View details for PubMedID 29847429

  • Cost-benefit Analysis of Maintaining a Fully Stocked Malignant Hyperthermia Cart versus an Initial Dantrolene Treatment Dose for Maternity Units. Anesthesiology Ho, P. T., Carvalho, B., Sun, E. C., Macario, A., Riley, E. T. 2018


    The Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States recommends that dantrolene be available for administration within 10 min. One approach to dantrolene availability is a malignant hyperthermia cart, stocked with dantrolene, other drugs, and supplies. However, this may not be of cost benefit for maternity units, where triggering agents are rarely used.The authors performed a cost-benefit analysis of maintaining a malignant hyperthermia cart versus a malignant hyperthermia cart readily available within the hospital versus an initial dantrolene dose of 250 mg, on every maternity unit in the United States. A decision-tree model was used to estimate the expected number of lives saved, and this benefit was compared against the expected costs of the policy.We found that maintaining a malignant hyperthermia cart in every maternity unit in the United States would reduce morbidity and mortality costs by $3,304,641 per year nationally but would cost $5,927,040 annually. Sensitivity analyses showed that our results were largely driven by the extremely low incidence of general anesthesia. If cesarean delivery rates in the United States remained at 32% of all births, the general anesthetic rate would have to be greater than 11% to achieve cost benefit. The only cost-effective strategy is to keep a 250-mg dose of dantrolene on the unit for starting therapy.It is not of cost benefit to maintain a fully stocked malignant hyperthermia cart with a full supply of dantrolene within 10 min of maternity units. We recommend that hospitals institute alternative strategies (e.g., maintain a small supply of dantrolene on the maternity unit for starting treatment).

    View details for PubMedID 29672336

  • Preoperative depression, lumbar fusion, and opioid use: an assessment of postoperative prescription, quality, and economic outcomes. Neurosurgical focus O'Connell, C., Azad, T. D., Mittal, V., Vail, D., Johnson, E., Desai, A., Sun, E., Ratliff, J. K., Veeravagu, A. 2018; 44 (1): E5


    OBJECTIVE Preoperative depression has been linked to a variety of adverse outcomes following lumbar fusion, including increased pain, disability, and 30-day readmission rates. The goal of the present study was to determine whether preoperative depression is associated with increased narcotic use following lumbar fusion. Moreover, the authors examined the association between preoperative depression and a variety of secondary quality indicator and economic outcomes, including complications, 30-day readmissions, revision surgeries, likelihood of discharge home, and 1- and 2-year costs. METHODS A retrospective analysis was conducted using a national longitudinal administrative database (MarketScan) containing diagnostic and reimbursement data on patients with a variety of private insurance providers and Medicare for the period from 2007 to 2014. Multivariable logistic and negative binomial regressions were performed to assess the relationship between preoperative depression and the primary postoperative opioid use outcomes while controlling for demographic, comorbidity, and preoperative prescription drug-use variables. Logistic and log-linear regressions were also used to evaluate the association between depression and the secondary outcomes of complications, 30-day readmissions, revisions, likelihood of discharge home, and 1- and 2-year costs. RESULTS The authors identified 60,597 patients who had undergone lumbar fusion and met the study inclusion criteria, 4985 of whom also had a preoperative diagnosis of depression and 21,905 of whom had a diagnosis of spondylolisthesis at the time of surgery. A preoperative depression diagnosis was associated with increased cumulative opioid use (β = 0.25, p < 0.001), an increased risk of chronic use (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.17-1.40), and a decreased probability of opioid cessation (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.95-0.98) following lumbar fusion. In terms of secondary outcomes, preoperative depression was also associated with a slightly increased risk of complications (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.03-1.25), revision fusions (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.05-1.26), and 30-day readmissions (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.04-1.36), although it was not significantly associated with the probability of discharge to home (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.84-1.01). Preoperative depression also resulted in increased costs at 1 (β = 0.06, p < 0.001) and 2 (β = 0.09, p < 0.001) years postoperatively. CONCLUSIONS Although these findings must be interpreted in the context of the limitations inherent to retrospective studies utilizing administrative data, they provide additional evidence for the link between a preoperative diagnosis of depression and adverse outcomes, particularly increased opioid use, following lumbar fusion.

    View details for DOI 10.3171/2017.10.FOCUS17563

    View details for PubMedID 29290135

  • A matched case-control comparison of hospital costs and outcomes for knee replacement patients admitted postoperatively to acute care versus rehabilitation. Journal of anesthesia Tse, B. K., Walters, T. L., Howard, S. K., Kim, T. E., Memtsoudis, S. G., Sun, E. C., Kou, A., Graham, L., King, R., Mariano, E. R. 2017


    For select total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients, we have established an alternative pathway to bypass the acute care surgical ward and directly admit patients from the post-anesthesia care unit to on-campus rehabilitation. We retrospectively examined whether this 'fast track' pathway decreased costs and improved patient outcomes. After reviewing records of consecutive primary unilateral TKA patients over a 15-month period, each patient admitted to rehabilitation was matched with a control admitted to the acute care ward. The primary outcome was estimated total hospitalization cost (length of stay in days multiplied by the average cost per day). Secondary outcomes were length of stay, in-hospital pain scores, opioid use, maximum ambulatory distance and 30-day readmission, morbidity, and mortality. Of the 262 TKA patients during the study period, 14 were admitted to rehabilitation and were matched to 14 patients admitted to acute care. Estimated total hospitalization cost [median (10th-90th percentiles)] was US$30,755 (US$23,066-38,444) for ward patients compared to US$17,620 (US$13,215-33,918) for rehabilitation patients (P = 0.006). This difference [mean (95% CI)] was US$10,143 (US$2174-18,112). There were no other differences. For facilities similar to ours, direct postoperative admission of select TKA patients to subacute rehabilitation may be less costly than acute care and may not negatively affect outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00540-017-2372-9

    View details for PubMedID 28477230

  • Lack of Association Between the Use of Nerve Blockade and the Risk of Postoperative Chronic Opioid Use Among Patients Undergoing Total Knee Arthroplasty: Evidence from the Marketscan Database. Anesthesia and analgesia Sun, E. C., Bateman, B. T., Memtsoudis, S. G., Neuman, M. D., Mariano, E. R., Baker, L. C. 2017


    Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is associated with high rates of prolonged opioid use after surgery (10%-34%). By decreasing opioid use in the immediate postoperative period, perioperative nerve blockade has been hypothesized to decrease the risk of persistent opioid use.Using health care utilization data, we constructed a sample of 120,080 patients undergoing TKA between 2002 and 2012 and used billing data to identify the utilization of peripheral or neuraxial blockade. We then used a multivariable logistic regression to estimate the association between nerve blockade and the risk of chronic opioid use, defined as having filled ≥10 prescriptions or ≥120 days' supply for an opioid in the first postsurgical year. Our analyses were adjusted for an extensive set of potential confounding variables, including -medical comorbidities, previous opioid use, and previous use of other medications.We did not find an association between nerve blockade and the risk of postsurgical chronic opioid use across any of these 3 groups: adjusted relative risk (ARR) 0.984 for patients opioid-naïve in the year before surgery (98.3% confidence interval [CI], 0.870-1.12, P = .794), ARR 1.02 for intermittent opioid users (98.3% CI, 0.948-1.09, P = .617), and ARR 0.986 (98.3% CI, 0.963-1.01, P = .257) for chronic opioid users. Similar results held for alternative measures of postsurgical opioid use.Although the use of perioperative nerve blockade for TKA may improve short-term outcomes, the analyzed types of blocks do not appear to decrease the risk of persistent opioid use in the longer term.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001943

    View details for PubMedID 28430692

  • Association between concurrent use of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines and overdose: retrospective analysis BMJ-BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL Sun, E. C., Dixit, A., Humphreys, K., Darnall, B. D., Baker, L. C., Mackey, S. 2017; 356


    Objectives To identify trends in concurrent use of a benzodiazepine and an opioid and to identify the impact of these trends on admissions to hospital and emergency room visits for opioid overdose.Design Retrospective analysis of claims data, 2001-13.Setting Administrative health claims database.Participants 315 428 privately insured people aged 18-64 who were continuously enrolled in a health plan with medical and pharmacy benefits during the study period and who also filled at least one prescription for an opioid.Interventions Concurrent benzodiazepine/opioid use, defined as an overlap of at least one day in the time periods covered by prescriptions for each drug. Main outcome measures Annual percentage of opioid users with concurrent benzodiazepine use; annual incidence of visits to emergency room and inpatient admissions for opioid overdose.Results 9% of opioid users also used a benzodiazepine in 2001, increasing to 17% in 2013 (80% relative increase). This increase was driven mainly by increases among intermittent, as opposed to chronic, opioid users. Compared with opioid users who did not use benzodiazepines, concurrent use of both drugs was associated with an increased risk of an emergency room visit or inpatient admission for opioid overdose (adjusted odds ratio 2.14, 95% confidence interval 2.05 to 2.24; P<0.001) among all opioid users. The adjusted odds ratio for an emergency room visit or inpatient admission for opioid overdose was 1.42 (1.33 to 1.51; P<0.001) for intermittent opioid users and 1.81 (1.67 to 1.96; P<0.001) chronic opioid users. If this association is causal, elimination of concurrent benzodiazepine/opioid use could reduce the risk of emergency room visits related to opioid use and inpatient admissions for opioid overdose by an estimated 15% (95% confidence interval 14 to 16).Conclusions From 2001 to 2013, concurrent benzodiazepine/opioid use sharply increased in a large sample of privately insured patients in the US and significantly contributed to the overall population risk of opioid overdose.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmj.j760

    View details for Web of Science ID 000397014900002

    View details for PubMedID 28292769

  • Hospitals with briefer than average lengths of stays for common surgical procedures do not have greater odds of either re-admission or use of short-term care facilities. Anaesthesia and intensive care Dexter, F., Epstein, R. H., Dexter, E. U., Lubarsky, D. A., Sun, E. C. 2017; 45 (2): 210-219


    We considered whether senior hospital managers and department chairs need to be concerned that small reductions in average hospital length of stay (LOS) may be associated with greater rates of re-admission, use of home health care, and/or transfers to short-term care facilities. The 2013 United States Nationwide Readmissions Database was used to study surgical Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) with 1) national median LOS ≥3 days and 2) ≥10 hospitals in the database that each had ≥100 discharges for the DRG. Dependent variables were considered individually: 1) re-admission within 30 days of discharge, 2) discharge disposition to home health care, and/or 3) discharge disposition of transfer to short-term care facility (i.e., inpatient rehabilitation hospital or skilled nursing facility). While controlling for DRG, each one-day decrease in hospital median LOS was associated with an odds of re-admission nationwide of 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.92-0.99; P=0.012), odds of disposition upon discharge being home care of 0.95 (95% CI 0.83-1.10; P=0.64), and odds of transfer to short-term care facility of 0.68 (95% CI 0.54-0.85; P=0.0008). Results were insensitive to the addition of patient-specific data. In the USA, patients at hospitals with briefer median LOS across multiple common surgical procedures did not have a greater risk for either hospital re-admission within 30 days of discharge or transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital or a skilled nursing facility. The generalisable implication is that, across many surgical procedures, DRG-based financial incentives to shorten hospital stays seem not to influence post-acute care decisions.

    View details for PubMedID 28267943

  • "Opt Out" and Access to Anesthesia Care for Elective and Urgent Surgeries among U.S. Medicare Beneficiaries. Anesthesiology Sun, E. C., Dexter, F., Miller, T. R., Baker, L. C. 2017; 126 (3): 461-471


    In 2001, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rule allowing U.S. states to "opt out" of the regulations requiring physician supervision of nurse anesthetists in an effort to increase access to anesthesia care. Whether "opt out" has successfully achieved this goal remains unknown.Using Medicare administrative claims data, we examined whether "opt out" reduced the distance traveled by patients, a common measure of access, for patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty, cataract surgery, colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, appendectomy, or hip fracture repair. In addition, we examined whether "opt out" was associated with an increase in the use of anesthesia care for cataract surgery, colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Our analysis used a difference-in-differences approach with a robust set of controls to minimize confounding."Opt out" did not reduce the percentage of patients who traveled outside of their home zip code except in the case of total hip arthroplasty (2.2% point reduction; P = 0.007). For patients travelling outside of their zip code, "opt out" had no significant effect on the distance traveled among any of the procedures we examined, with point estimates ranging from a 7.9-km decrease for appendectomy (95% CI, -19 to 3.4; P = 0.173) to a 1.6-km increase (95% CI, -5.1 to 8.2; P = 0.641) for total hip arthroplasty. There was also no significant effect on the use of anesthesia for esophagogastroduodenoscopy, appendectomy, or cataract surgery."Opt out" was associated with little or no increased access to anesthesia care for several common procedures.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ALN.0000000000001504

    View details for PubMedID 28106610

  • Into the Wilderness?: The Growing Importance of Nonoperating Room Anesthesia Care in the United States. Anesthesia and analgesia Lu, A. C., Wald, S. H., Sun, E. C. 2017; 124 (4): 1044–46

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001965

    View details for PubMedID 28319544

  • In Response. Anesthesia and analgesia Sun, E. C., Bateman, B. T., Memtsoudis, S. G., Neuman, M. D., Mariano, E. R., Baker, L. C. 2017

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002711

    View details for PubMedID 29239946

  • Chronic Opioid Use After Surgery: Implications for Perioperative Management in the Face of the Opioid Epidemic. Anesthesia and analgesia Hah, J. M., Bateman, B. T., Ratliff, J., Curtin, C., Sun, E. 2017; 125 (5): 1733–40


    Physicians, policymakers, and researchers are increasingly focused on finding ways to decrease opioid use and overdose in the United States both of which have sharply increased over the past decade. While many efforts are focused on the management of chronic pain, the use of opioids in surgical patients presents a particularly challenging problem requiring clinicians to balance 2 competing interests: managing acute pain in the immediate postoperative period and minimizing the risks of persistent opioid use after the surgery. Finding ways to minimize this risk is particularly salient in light of a growing literature suggesting that postsurgical patients are at increased risk for chronic opioid use. The perioperative care team, including surgeons and anesthesiologists, is poised to develop clinical- and systems-based interventions aimed at providing pain relief in the immediate postoperative period while also reducing the risks of opioid use longer term. In this paper, we discuss the consequences of chronic opioid use after surgery and present an analysis of the extent to which surgery has been associated with chronic opioid use. We follow with a discussion of the risk factors that are associated with chronic opioid use after surgery and proceed with an analysis of the extent to which opioid-sparing perioperative interventions (eg, nerve blockade) have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic opioid use after surgery. We then conclude with a discussion of future research directions.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002458

    View details for PubMedID 29049117

  • Distribution of Prescription Opioid Use Among Privately Insured Adults Without Cancer: United States, 2001-2013. Annals of internal medicine Sun, E. C., Jena, A. B. 2017

    View details for DOI 10.7326/M17-1408

    View details for PubMedID 28892817

  • Lack of Association Between the Use of Nerve Blockade and the Risk of Persistent Opioid Use Among Patients Undergoing Shoulder Arthroplasty: Evidence From the Marketscan Database. Anesthesia and analgesia Mueller, K. G., Memtsoudis, S. G., Mariano, E. R., Baker, L. C., Mackey, S., Sun, E. C. 2017


    Persistent opioid use following surgery has received increasing attention from policymakers, researchers, and clinicians. Perioperative nerve blockade has been hypothesized to decrease the risk of persistent opioid use. We examined whether nerve blockade was associated with a decreased risk of persistent opioid use among patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty, a procedure with high rates of persistent postoperative pain.Using health care claims data, we constructed a sample of 6695 patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty between 2002 and 2012 and used billing data to identify the utilization of nerve blockade. We then used a multivariable logistic regression to estimate the association between nerve blockade and 2 measures of opioid use: having filled at least 1 prescription for an opioid between postoperative days (PODs) 0 and 90, and between POD 91 and 365. This regression adjusted for a variety of potential confounders, such as preoperative opioid use and medical history.There was no association between nerve blockade and our 2 measures of persistent opioid use: adjusted odds ratio, 1.12 (97.5% confidence interval, 0.939-1.34; P = .15) for opioid use between POD 0 and 90, and adjusted odds ratio, 0.997 (97.5% confidence interval, 0.875-1.14; P = .95) for opioid use between POD 91 and 365.Although the use of perioperative nerve blockade may offer short-term benefits, in this study, it was not associated with a reduction in the risk of persistent opioid use for patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty.

    View details for PubMedID 28742777

  • Readmissions to Different Hospitals After Common Surgical Procedures and Consequences for Implementation of Perioperative Surgical Home Programs. Anesthesia and analgesia Dexter, F., Epstein, R. H., Sun, E. C., Lubarsky, D. A., Dexter, E. U. 2017


    We consider whether there should be greater priority of information sharing about postacute surgical resources used: (1) at skilled nursing facilities or inpatient rehabilitation hospitals to which patients are transferred upon discharge (when applicable) versus (2) at different hospitals where readmissions occur. Obtaining and storing data electronically from these 2 sources for Perioperative Surgical Home initiatives are dissimilar; both can be challenging depending on the country and health system.Using the 2013 US Nationwide Readmissions Database, we studied discharges of surgical diagnosis-related group (DRG) with US national median length of stay (LOS) ≥ 3 days and ≥ 10 hospitals each with ≥ 100 discharges for the Medicare Severity DRG.Nationwide, 16.15% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.14%-17.22%) of discharges were with a disposition of "not to home" (ie, transfer to a skilled nursing facility or an inpatient rehabilitation hospital). Within 30 days, 0.88% of discharges (0.82%-0.95%) were followed by readmission and to a different hospital than the original hospital where the surgery was performed. Among all discharges, disposition "not to home" versus "to home" was associated with greater odds that the patient would have readmission within 30 days and to a different hospital than where the surgery was performed (2.11, 95% CI, 1.96-2.27; P < .0001). In part, this was because disposition "not to home" was associated with greater odds of readmission to any hospital (1.90, 95% CI, 1.82-1.98; P < .0001). In addition, among the subset of discharges with readmission within 30 days, disposition "not to home" versus "to home" was associated with greater odds that the readmission was to a different hospital than where the surgery was performed (1.20, 95% CI, 1.11-1.31; P < .0001). There was no association between the hospitals' median LOS for the DRG and the odds that readmission was to a different hospital (P = .82). The odds ratio per each 1 day decrease in the hospital median LOS was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.91-1.12).Departments and hospitals wishing to demonstrate the value of their Perioperative Surgical Home initiatives, or to calculate risk assumption contracts, should ensure that their informatics priorities include obtaining accurate data on resource use at postacute care facilities such as skilled nursing facilities. Although approximately a quarter of readmissions are to different hospitals than where surgery was performed, provided that is recognized, obtaining those missing data is of less importance.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002017

    View details for PubMedID 28598923

  • Incidence of and Risk Factors for Chronic Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients in the Postoperative Period. JAMA internal medicine Sun, E. C., Darnall, B. D., Baker, L. C., Mackey, S. 2016; 176 (9): 1286-1293


    Chronic opioid use imposes a substantial burden in terms of morbidity and economic costs. Whether opioid-naive patients undergoing surgery are at increased risk for chronic opioid use is unknown, as are the potential risk factors for chronic opioid use following surgery.To characterize the risk of chronic opioid use among opioid-naive patients following 1 of 11 surgical procedures compared with nonsurgical patients.Retrospective analysis of administrative health claims to determine the association between chronic opioid use and surgery among privately insured patients between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2013. The data concluded 11 surgical procedures (total knee arthroplasty [TKA], total hip arthroplasty, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, open cholecystectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, open appendectomy, cesarean delivery, functional endoscopic sinus surgery [FESS], cataract surgery, transurethral prostate resection [TURP], and simple mastectomy). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to control for possible confounders, including sex, age, preoperative history of depression, psychosis, drug or alcohol abuse, and preoperatice use of benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.One of the 11 study surgical procedures.Chronic opioid use, defined as having filled 10 or more prescriptions or more than 120 days' supply of an opioid in the first year after surgery, excluding the first 90 postoperative days. For nonsurgical patients, chronic opioid use was defined as having filled 10 or more prescriptions or more than 120 days' supply following a randomly assigned "surgery date."The study included 641 941 opioid-naive surgical patients (169 666 men; mean [SD] age, 44.0 [12.8] years), and 18 011 137 opioid-naive nonsurgical patients (8 849 107 men; mean [SD] age, 42.4 [12.6] years). Among the surgical patients, the incidence of chronic opioid in the first preoperative year ranged from 0.119% for Cesarean delivery (95% CI, 0.104%-0.134%) to 1.41% for TKA (95% CI, 1.29%-1.53%) The baseline incidence of chronic opioid use among the nonsurgical patients was 0.136% (95% CI, 0.134%-0.137%). Except for cataract surgery, laparoscopic appendectomy, FESS, and TURP, all of the surgical procedures were associated with an increased risk of chronic opioid use, with odds ratios ranging from 1.28 (95% CI, 1.12-1.46) for cesarean delivery to 5.10 (95% CI, 4.67-5.58) for TKA. Male sex, age older than 50 years, and preoperative history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, depression, benzodiazepine use, or antidepressant use were associated with chronic opioid use among surgical patients.In opioid-naive patients, many surgical procedures are associated with an increased risk of chronic opioid use in the postoperative period. A certain subset of patients (eg, men, elderly patients) may be particularly vulnerable.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3298

    View details for PubMedID 27400458

  • The Effect of "Opt-Out" Regulation on Access to Surgical Care for Urgent Cases in the United States: Evidence from the National Inpatient Sample ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Sun, E., Dexter, F., Miller, T. R. 2016; 122 (6): 1983-1991


    In 2001, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rule permitting states to "opt-out" of federal regulations requiring physician supervision of nurse anesthetists. We examined the extent to which this rule increased access to anesthesia care for urgent cases.Using data from a national sample of inpatient discharges, we examined whether opt-out was associated with an increase in the percentage of patients receiving a therapeutic procedure among patients admitted for appendicitis, bowel obstruction, choledocholithiasis, or hip fracture. We chose these 4 diagnoses because they represent instances where urgent access to a procedure requiring anesthesia is often indicated. In addition, we examined whether opt-out was associated with a reduction in the number of appendicitis patients who presented with a ruptured appendix. In addition to controlling for patient morbidities and demographics, our analysis incorporated a difference-in-differences approach, with additional controls for state-year trends, to reduce confounding.Across all 4 diagnoses, opt-out was not associated with a statistically significant change in the percentage of patients who received a procedure (0.0315 percentage point increase, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.843 to 0.906 percentage point increase). When broken down by diagnosis, opt-out was also not associated with statistically significant changes in the percentage of patients who received a procedure for bowel obstruction (0.511 percentage point decrease, 95% CI -2.28 to 1.26), choledocholithiasis (2.78 percentage point decrease, 95% CI -6.12 to 0.565), and hip fracture (0.291 percentage point increase, 95% CI -1.76 to 2.94). Opt-out was associated with a small but statistically significant increase in the percentage of appendicitis patients receiving an appendectomy (0.876 percentage point increase, 95% CI 0.194 to 1.56); however, there was no significant change in the percentage of patients presenting with a ruptured appendix (-0.914 percentage point decrease, 95% CI -2.41 to 0.582). Subanalyses showed that the effects of opt-out did not differ in rural versus urban areas.Based on 2 measures of access, opt-out does not appear to have significantly increased access to anesthesia for urgent inpatient conditions.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001154

    View details for Web of Science ID 000376463000038

    View details for PubMedID 27195640

  • In the United States, "Opt-Out" States Show No Increase in Access to Anesthesia Services for Medicare Beneficiaries Compared with Non-"Opt-Out" States. A & A case reports Sun, E. C., Miller, T. R., Halzack, N. M. 2016; 6 (9): 283-285


    In the United States, anesthesia care can be provided by anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists. Since 2001, 17 states have exercised their right to "opt-out" of the federal requirement that a physician supervise the administration of anesthesia by a nurse anesthetist, with the majority citing increased access to anesthesia care as the rationale for their decision. By using Medicare data, we found that most (4 of 5) cohorts of "opt-out" states likely experienced smaller growth in anesthesia utilization rates compared with non-"opt-out" states, suggesting that opt-out was not associated with an increase in access to anesthesia care.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/XAA.0000000000000293

    View details for PubMedID 26895523

  • Does the Modifier "QZ" Accurately Reflect Independent Nurse Anesthetist Practice: And Why Does It Matter? A & A case reports Sun, E. 2016; 6 (7): 220-221

    View details for DOI 10.1213/XAA.0000000000000254

    View details for PubMedID 27032042

  • No Significant Association between Anesthesia Group Concentration and Private Insurer Payments in the United States ANESTHESIOLOGY Sun, E. C., Dexter, F., Macario, A., Miller, T. R., Baker, L. C. 2015; 123 (3): 507-514


    Markets for physician services are becoming increasingly concentrated, with many areas being dominated by a few groups. Antitrust authorities are concerned that increasing concentration will lead to inappropriately high payments for physician services from private insurers. The authors examined the association between market concentration and private insurer payments for anesthesia services.The authors obtained data on average payments from private insurers for five commonly used anesthesia Current Procedure Terminology codes for physicians located in 229 counties in the United States between 2002 and 2010. The authors calculated a measure of market concentration (the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index [HHI]) for anesthesiologists in each county using Medicare claims data. The authors then estimated the association between market concentration and private insurer payments using a difference-in-differences approach to minimize confounding.Private insurer payments to anesthesiologists in more concentrated markets were not significantly different from payments in less concentrated markets. Compared with the 25% of counties with the least concentration (counties with an HHI in the 0th to 25th percentile), payments in counties in the 25th to 50th percentile of HHI were approximately 0.51% less (95% CI, -2.3 to 1.3%, P = 0.95), whereas payments in counties in the 50th to 75th percentile of HHI were approximately 2.8% less (95% CI, -6.7 to 1.4%, P = 0.41) and payments in counties in the 75th to 100th percentile were approximately 3.1% less (95% CI, -8.1 to 1.2%, P = 0.32).Increasing market concentration of anesthesia groups is not associated with significantly greater payments from private insurers.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000779

    View details for Web of Science ID 000363536900005

    View details for PubMedID 26192028

  • Concentration In Orthopedic Markets Was Associated With A 7 Percent Increase In Physician Fees For Total Knee Replacements HEALTH AFFAIRS Sun, E., Baker, L. C. 2015; 34 (6): 916-921


    Physician groups are growing larger in size and fewer in number. Although this consolidation could result in improved patient care, the resulting increase in market concentration also could allow larger groups to negotiate higher physician fees from private insurers. We examined the association between market concentration and physician fees in the case of total knee arthroplasty by calculating market concentration for orthopedic groups practicing in a given market and by analyzing administrative claims data from Marketscan. In the period 2001-10 the average professional fee for total knee arthroplasty was $2,537. During this time, in markets that moved from the bottom quartile of concentration to the top quartile, physician fees paid by private payers increased by $168 per procedure. The increase nearly offset the $261 decline in fees that we observed, absent changes in market concentration. These findings suggest that caution should be used in implementing policies designed to encourage further group concentration, which could produce similar effects.

    View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1325

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358453800004

  • Does the Declining Lethality of Gunshot Injuries Mask a Rising Epidemic of Gun Violence in the United States? JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Jena, A. B., Sun, E. C., Prasad, V. 2014; 29 (7): 1065-1069


    Recent mass shootings in the U.S. have reignited the important public health debate concerning measures to decrease the epidemic of gun violence. Editorialists and gun lobbyists have criticized the recent focus on gun violence, arguing that gun-related homicide rates have been stable in the last decade. While true, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also demonstrate that although gun-related homicide rates were stable between 2002 and 2011, rates of violent gunshot injuries increased. These seemingly paradoxical trends may reflect the declining lethality of gunshot injuries brought about by surgical advances in the care of the patient with penetrating trauma. Focusing on gun-related homicide rates as a summary statistic of gun violence, rather than total violent gunshot injuries, can therefore misrepresent the rising epidemic of gun violence in the U.S.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-014-2779-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338207100023

    View details for PubMedID 24452421

  • Mortality Among High-Risk Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction Admitted to US Teaching-Intensive Hospitals in July A Retrospective Observational Study CIRCULATION Jena, A. B., Sun, E. C., Romley, J. A. 2013; 128 (25): 2754-?


    Studies of whether inpatient mortality in US teaching hospitals rises in July as a result of organizational disruption and relative inexperience of new physicians (July effect) find small and mixed results, perhaps because study populations primarily include low-risk inpatients whose mortality outcomes are unlikely to exhibit a July effect.Using the US Nationwide Inpatient sample, we estimated difference-in-difference models of mortality, percutaneous coronary intervention rates, and bleeding complication rates, for high- and low-risk patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted to 98 teaching-intensive and 1353 non-teaching-intensive hospitals during May and July 2002 to 2008. Among patients in the top quartile of predicted acute myocardial infarction mortality (high risk), adjusted mortality was lower in May than July in teaching-intensive hospitals (18.8% in May, 22.7% in July, P<0.01), but similar in non-teaching-intensive hospitals (22.5% in May, 22.8% in July, P=0.70). Among patients in the lowest three quartiles of predicted acute myocardial infarction mortality (low risk), adjusted mortality was similar in May and July in both teaching-intensive hospitals (2.1% in May, 1.9% in July, P=0.45) and non-teaching-intensive hospitals (2.7% in May, 2.8% in July, P=0.21). Differences in percutaneous coronary intervention and bleeding complication rates could not explain the observed July mortality effect among high risk patients.High-risk acute myocardial infarction patients experience similar mortality in teaching- and non-teaching-intensive hospitals in July, but lower mortality in teaching-intensive hospitals in May. Low-risk patients experience no such July effect in teaching-intensive hospitals.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.004074

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330348100013

    View details for PubMedID 24152859

  • Confounding in the Association of Proton Pump Inhibitor Use With Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Jena, A. B., Sun, E., Goldman, D. P. 2013; 28 (2): 223-230


    Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), an association which may be confounded by unobserved patient and prescriber characteristics.We assessed for confounding in the association between PPI use and CAP by using a 'falsification approach,' which estimated whether PPI use is also implausibly associated with other common medical conditions for which no known pathophysiologic link exists.Retrospective claims-based cohort study.Six private U.S. health plans.Individuals who filled at least one prescription for a PPI (N = 26,436) and those who never did (N = 28,054) over 11 years.Multivariate linear regression of the association between a filled prescription for a PPI and a diagnosis of CAP in each 3-month quarter. In falsification analyses, we tested for implausible associations between PPI use in each quarter and rates of osteoarthritis, chest pain, urinary tract infection (UTI), deep venous thrombosis (DVT), skin infection, and rheumatoid arthritis. Independent variables included an indicator for whether a prescription for a PPI was filled in a given quarter, and quarterly indicators for various co-morbidities, age, income, geographic location, and marital status.Compared to nonusers, those ever using a PPI had higher adjusted rates of CAP in quarters in which no prescription was filled (68 vs. 61 cases per 10,000 persons, p < 0.001). Similar associations were noted for all conditions (e.g. chest pain, 336 vs. 282 cases, p < 0.001; UTI, 151 vs. 139 cases, p < 0.001). Among those ever using a PPI, quarters in which a prescription was filled were associated with higher adjusted rates of CAP (111 vs. 68 cases per 10,000, p < 0.001) and all other conditions (e.g. chest pain, 597 vs. 336 cases, p < 0.001; UTI, 186 vs. 151 cases, p < 0.001), compared to quarters in which no prescription was filled.PPI use is associated with CAP, but also implausibly associated with common medical conditions. Observed associations between PPI use and CAP may be confounded.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-012-2211-5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314067900013

    View details for PubMedID 22956446

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3614140

  • Behind-the-Counter Statins: A Silver Bullet for Reducing Costs and Increasing Access? HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Sood, N., Sun, E., Zhuo, X. 2012; 47 (1): 174-187


    To examine how the 2004 introduction of behind-the-counter (BTC) simvastatin in the United Kingdom affected utilization, prices, and expenditures.Secondary data on simvastatin utilization, prices, and expenditures between 1997 and 2007 in the United Kingdom and four other countries.We used a difference-in-differences approach to estimate how the introduction of BTC simvastatin affected utilization, prices, and expenditures. This approach compares outcomes in the United Kingdom before and after the introduction of BTC simvastatin, using outcomes in countries where the drug remained prescription only to control for possible confounders.Data on simvastain utilization, prices, and expenditures between 1997 and 2007 in the United Kingdom and four other countries were obtained from an outside vendor.The introduction of BTC simvastatin in the United Kingdom led to a significant increase in utilization of simvastatin and a significant decline in expenditures for simvastatin purchases. Our results are robust to alternate model specifications.Behind-the-counter statins have the potential to simultaneously increase use of statins and lower expenditures.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01315.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299040600011

    View details for PubMedID 22091792

  • A Reexamination of the Costs of Medical R&D Regulation Forum for Health Economics & Policy Philipson, T. J., Sun, E. C., Goldman, D. P., Jena, A. B. 2012; 15 (2)

    View details for DOI 10.1515/fhep-2012-0020

  • Do We Need the FDA? Improving the Regulation of Pharmaceutical Products Regulation vs Litigation:Persepectives from Economics and Law Philipson, T. J., Sun, E. C., Goldman, D. P. edited by Kessler, D., Shleifer, A. University of Chicago Press. 2011
  • Can an Acute Pain Service Be Cost-Effective? ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Sun, E., Dexter, F., Macario, A. 2010; 111 (4): 841-844

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181f33533

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282310200005

    View details for PubMedID 20870982

  • An economic evaluation of the war on cancer JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS Lakdawalla, D. N., Sun, E. C., Jena, A. B., Reyes, C. M., Goldman, D. P., Philipson, T. J. 2010; 29 (3): 333-346


    For decades, the US public and private sectors have committed substantial resources towards cancer research, but the societal payoff has not been well-understood. We quantify the value of recent gains in cancer survival, and analyze the distribution of value among various stakeholders. Between 1988 and 2000, life expectancy for cancer patients increased by roughly four years, and the average willingness-to-pay for these survival gains was roughly $322,000. Improvements in cancer survival during this period created 23 million additional life-years and roughly $1.9 trillion of additional social value, implying that the average life-year was worth approximately $82,000 to its recipient. Health care providers and pharmaceutical companies appropriated 5-19% of this total, with the rest accruing to patients. The share of value flowing to patients has been rising over time. In terms of economic rates of return, R&D investments against cancer have been a success, particularly from the patient's point of view.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2010.02.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000278297200001

    View details for PubMedID 20363520

  • The Value of Specialty Oncology Drugs HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Goldman, D. P., Jena, A. B., Lakdawalla, D. N., Malin, J. L., Malkin, J. D., Sun, E. 2010; 45 (1): 115-132


    To estimate patients' elasticity of demand, willingness to pay, and consumer surplus for five high-cost specialty medications treating metastatic disease or hematologic malignancies.Claims data from 71 private health plans from 1997 to 2005.This is a revealed preference analysis of the demand for specialty drugs among cancer patients. We exploit differences in plan generosity to examine how utilization of specialty oncology drugs varies with patient out-of-pocket costs.We extracted key variables from administrative health insurance claims records.A 25 percent reduction in out-of-pocket costs leads to a 5 percent increase in the probability that a patient initiates specialty cancer drug therapy. Among patients who initiate, a 25 percent reduction in out-of-pocket costs reduces the number of treatments (claims) by 1-3 percent, depending on the drug. On average, the value of these drugs to patients who use them is about four times the total cost paid by the patient and his or her insurer, although this ratio may be lower for oral specialty therapies.The decision to initiate therapy with specialty oncology drugs is responsive to price, but not highly so. Among patients who initiate therapy, the amount of treatment is equally responsive. The drugs we examine are highly valued by patients in excess of their total costs, although oral agents warrant further scrutiny as copayments increase.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01059.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000273456400008

    View details for PubMedID 19878344

  • The Contributions of Improved Therapy and Earlier Detection to Cancer Survival Gains, 1988-2000 Forum for Health Economics & Policy Sun, E. C., Jena, A. B., Lakdawalla, D. N., Goldman, D. P. 2010; 13 (2)
  • Health and Wealth Disparities in the United States Philipson, T. J., Jena, A. B., Sun, E. C. American Enterprise Institute Press. 2010
  • Medicare Part D After 2 Years AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MANAGED CARE Joyce, G. F., Goldman, D. P., Vogt, W. B., Sun, E., Jena, A. B. 2009; 15 (8): 536-544


    To assess the broad impacts of Medicare Part D and the extent to which prior concerns have been realized.We used administrative data to summarize beneficiary enrollment and plan participation in Part D, and compared pharmaceutical use and out-of-pocket spending before and after the introduction of Part D. We characterized the benefit designs of the 10 largest Part D plans in 2006 and compared them with the benefit designs of 7 non-Part D plans often cited as examples of low-cost or comprehensive drug benefits.By 2008, nearly 90% of seniors had drug coverage at least as generous as the standard Part D benefit. Excluding premiums, annual out-of-pocket spending in the 10 largest Part D plans was comparable to that of other private and public drug benefits, with the most prominent differences attributable to out-of-pocket spending on drugs not covered in the plan. Poorer beneficiaries have gained the most from Part D in terms of increased access to medications and reduced out-of-pocket spending.Coverage under Part D is comparable to that under non-Part D plans with respect to key features that are likely to be important to Medicare beneficiaries--access to medications and out-of-pocket costs. Nonetheless, concerns remain over drug pricing and gaps in coverage. The government should continue to monitor the competitiveness of the Part D market to ensure it meets the diverse needs of Medicare beneficiaries.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269316600007

    View details for PubMedID 19670957

  • Is the food and drug administration safe and effective? JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES Philipson, T. J., Sun, E. 2008; 22 (1): 85–102

    View details for DOI 10.1257/jep.22.1.85

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253915900005

    View details for PubMedID 19728421

  • Cost-benefit analysis of the FDA: The case of the prescription drug user fee acts JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ECONOMICS Philipson, T., Berndt, E. R., Gottschalk, A. H., Sun, E. 2008; 92 (5-6): 1306-1325
  • Drug licenses: A new model for pharmaceutical pricing HEALTH AFFAIRS Goldman, D. P., Jena, A. B., Phillipson, T., Sun, E. 2008; 27 (1): 122-129


    High drug prices are a major barrier to patients' access to drugs and compliance with treatment. Yet low drug prices are often argued to provide inadequate incentives for innovation. We propose a drug-licensing model for health care, which has the promise of increasing drug use without altering patients' out-of-pocket spending, health plans' costs, or drug companies' profits. In such a model, people would purchase annual drug licenses that would guarantee unfettered access to a clinically optimal number of prescriptions over the course of a year. Using the example of statins, we illustrate how such a model could be implemented.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000257188400014

    View details for PubMedID 18180487

  • Salivary gland cancer in the United States CANCER EPIDEMIOLOGY BIOMARKERS & PREVENTION Sun, E. C., Curtis, R., Melbye, M., Goedert, J. J. 1999; 8 (12): 1095-1100


    The risk of salivary gland cancer (SGC) is increased in atomic bomb survivors and after radiotherapy, but other risk factors are not well established. Some studies have suggested an association of SGC with breast cancer and with exposure to various viruses or UVB radiation. Corroborating evidence of these associations was sought by using population-based registries to examine the demographic distribution of SGC, patterns of secondary primary cancers after SGC, and risk of SGC with AIDS. SGC incidence per 100,000 persons did not change between 1973 and 1992, averaging 1.2 in males and 0.8 in females, with a steep age gradient. To examine the relationship between UVB exposure and SGC, population-based, age-adjusted incidence rates of SGC were plotted against the UVB insolation of each registry site. Regression analysis suggested no correlation between SGC incidence and increasing UVB insolation (beta = 0.10, R2 = 0.08). SGC also did not appear to be associated with second cancers that have been linked to herpes or papilloma viruses or with AIDS [observed/expected (O/E) ratio, <2.8], but all of these conditions are so uncommon that only very large relative risks would have been statistically significant. Women with SGC before age 35 had a statistically nonsignificant elevation in breast cancer risk [O/E, 3.30; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.66-9.65], and older women had no increased risk of breast cancer. SGC patients were at increased risk for nonsalivary, second-primary oropharyngeal cancers (O/E, 3.27; 95% CI, 2.00-5.05), thyroid cancer (O/E, 3.31; 95% CI, 1.07-7.73), and lung cancer (O/E, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.45-2.35), particularly in patients whose SGC was treated with radiotherapy (O/E, 2.83; 95% CI, 2.06-3.80). In summary, SGC remains rare and does not appear to be associated with AIDS, virally related malignancies, or UVB. Patients who have had SGC, however, should be monitored for subsequent oropharyngeal, thyroid, and lung cancers.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000084320100008

    View details for PubMedID 10613342

  • Epidemiology of squamous cell conjunctival cancer CANCER EPIDEMIOLOGY BIOMARKERS & PREVENTION Sun, E. C., Fears, T. R., Goedert, J. J. 1997; 6 (2): 73-77


    The etiology of squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva (SCCC) is not well known. A possible role of UVB radiation is suggested by an excess of SCCC in tropical countries and by the association between squamous cell skin cancer and exposure to UVB. Human papillomavirus type 16 also may be involved, given that it has been detected in benign and malignant conjunctival lesions and is the primary etiological agent involved in carcinoma of the anogenital tract. To examine the relationship between UVB exposure and SCCC, population-based age-adjusted incidence rates of SCCC and of conjunctival melanoma and squamous cell cancer of the eyelid were plotted against the UVB insolation of each registry site. Incidence data were examined further for patterns of second primary cancers among people with SCCC. SCCC was rare in the United States, with an incidence rate of 0.03 per 100,000 persons, although the rate was approximately 5-fold higher among males and whites. Regression analysis suggested a link between UVB exposure and SCCC rates (beta = 2.25; r = 0.58) that was as strong as that for squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid (beta = 2.73; r = 0.62) and much stronger than for conjunctival melanoma (beta = 0.28; r = 0.02). Risk of a second malignancy after SCCC was not increased overall (20 observed and 14.1 expected), although a significant excess of salivary gland cancer (4 observed and 0.03 expected) and a borderline excess of lung cancer (6 observed and 2.4 expected) were noted. These observations suggest that UV radiation likely contributes to SCCC development. Additional research is needed to define the other exposures and host susceptibility that likely interact with UV-related genetic damage in the multifactorial development of this rare neoplasm.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997WG44500001

    View details for PubMedID 9037556