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Infez Med. 2013 Dec;21(4):270-8.

Early discharge of infectious disease patients: an opportunity or extra cost for the Italian Healthcare System?

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  • Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive Lazzaro Spallanzani, IRCCS, Rome; U.O. Malattie Infettive Ospedale Guglielmo da Saliceto, Piacenza; Area Governo Clinico, Agenzia Regionale Sanitaria Regione Marche; Direzione Scientifica I.N.R.C.A., Ancona; U.O. Malattie Infettive Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, Pisa; Divisione Life Science Simon Kucher and Partners, Milano; U.O.; Farmacia Presidio Ospedaliero Gravina di Caltagirone, Catania; Policlinico Universitario Campus Biomedico, Rome; Direzione Generale Sanita, Regione Lombardia, Milan; UO Medicina Infettivologica, Facolta di Medicina, Universita degli studi di Salerno, Italy.


In order to assess the economic benefits of an early discharge (ED) programme for patients with complicated skin and soft tissue infections (cSSTIs) in terms of hospital and regional authority costs, an economic analysis was conducted comparing two possible alternatives: standard hospital management vs. an ED strategy followed by a period of outpatient management. Utilization of resources and costs were derived from the literature and expert panel evaluation. Patients were classified into four groups: low-intensity non-walking (LINW), low-intensity walking (LIW), high-intensity non-walking (HINW) and high-intensity walking (HIW). The overall costs (inpatient/outpatient) of hospitalization with ED for cSSTIs range from Euros 2,079 for LIW to Euros 2,193 for HINW, with the most expensive regimen (HINW) being 50% lower than the costs for 12.6 days of hospitalization alone (Euros 4,619). The weighted average Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) reimbursement for cSSTIs (Euros 2,042) does not cover the costs of such hospitalization. In conclusion, when a patient's conditions allow for early discharge there is an economic advantage for the hospital with an outpatient management plan, especially for patients requiring low-intensity care. However, this could be disadvantageous in terms of regional costs if outpatient management has to be paid in addition to payment by the DRG.

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