The economic benefits of enhanced recovery after surgery programmes

Ben Morrison, Leigh Kelliher, Chris Jones


The global economic burden of healthcare is set to continue to grow for the foreseeable future and methods must be sought to mitigate this burden whilst maintaining the high standard of care we expect to deliver to our patients. There have been numerous studies abundantly demonstrating the benefits of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programmes and more recently these have included studies looking into the economic benefits. It has now been demonstrated that implementation of ERAS programmes can deliver an overall cost-saving per patient for the institution delivering the surgery itself but also the wider community including primary care providers. Initial implementation is likely to incur an initial cost to the provider, most commonly in the form of employing new, dedicated ERAS personnel or procurement of new medications. Subsequent savings are largely the result of patient’s stay on critical care and within the hospital itself with both likely to be significantly reduced if a patient is enrolled on an ERAS programme. This article explores the literature currently available which has looked into the health economics surrounding ERAS programmes for a number of surgical specialities and from around the world.