The province of Bolzano represents a small Italian territorial reality, characterized by high hospitalization rates, although it has decreased over the last few years. The authors focused on measuring the geographic variation of provincial hospitalization rates for a series of elective procedures, such as tonsillectomy, hip replacement, knee replacement, vein stripping and arthroscopy at the knee. Through the calculation of the Systematic Component of Variation (SCV) they want to verify the presence of unwarranted variation among the provincial health districts. The authors point out how the measure of variation is not only relevant for descriptive purpose, but for decisions at governance level too, since the reduction in variation has an impact in terms of resources and costs.
Keywords: Systematic component of variation, elective procedures, hospitalization rates, small areas, health care systems, causes of variation.