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BMC Health Services Research

, 12:434

Utilization, expenditure, economics and financing systems


BackgroundIdentifying heart failure patients most likely to suffer poor outcomes is an essential part of delivering interventions to those most likely to benefit. We sought a comprehensive account of heart failure events and their cumulative economic burden by examining patient characteristics that predict increased cost or poor outcomes.

MethodsWe collected electronic medical data from members of a large HMO who had a heart failure diagnosis and an echocardiogram from 1999–2004, and followed them for one year. We examined the role of demographics, clinical and laboratory findings, comorbid disease and whether the heart failure was incident, as well as mortality. We used regression methods appropriate for censored cost data.

ResultsOf the 4,696 patients, 8% were incident. Several diseases were associated with significantly higher and economically relevant cost changes, including atrial fibrillation 15% higher, coronary artery disease 14% higher, chronic lung disease 29% higher, depression 36% higher, diabetes 38% higher and hyperlipidemia 21% higher. Some factors were associated with costs in a counterintuitive fashion i.e. lower costs in the presence of the factor including age, ejection fraction and anemia. But anemia and ejection fraction were also associated with a higher death rate.

ConclusionsClose control of factors that are independently associated with higher cost or poor outcomes may be important for disease management. Analysis of costs in a disease like heart failure that has a high death rate underscores the need for economic methods to consider how mortality should best be considered in costing studies.

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Autor: David H Smith - Eric S Johnson - David K Blough - Micah L Thorp - Xiuhai Yang - Amanda F Petrik - Kathy A Crispell


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