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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2001 Aug;32(2):101-8.

Prospective study of the patient-level cost of asthma care in children.

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Department of Health Administration, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Our objective was to assess the cost of asthma care at the patient level in children from the perspectives of society, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the patient. In this longitudinal evaluation, health service use data and costs were collected during telephone interviews at 1, 3, and 6 months with parents of 339 Ontario children with asthma. Direct costs were respiratory-related visits to healthcare providers, emergency rooms, hospital admissions, pulmonary function tests, prescription medications, devices, and out-of-pocket expenses. Indirect costs were parents' absences from work/usual activities and travel and waiting time. Hospital admissions accounted for 43%, medications for 31%, and parent productivity losses for 12% of total costs from a societal perspective. Statistically significant predictors of higher total costs were worse symptoms, younger age group, and season of participation. Adjusted annual societal costs per patient in 1995 Canadian dollars varied from $1,122 in children aged 4-14 years to $1,386 in children under 4 years of age. From the Ministry of Health perspective, adjusted annual costs per patient were $663 in children over 4 years and $904 in younger children. Adjusted annual costs from the patient perspective were $132 in children over 4 years and $129 in children under 4 years. The rising incidence of pediatric asthma demands that greater attention be paid to the delivery of optimal care to this segment of the population. Appropriate methods must be used to analyze healthcare costs and the use of services in the midst of widespread healthcare reform. The quality of clinical and health policy decision-making may be enhanced by cost-of-illness estimates that are comprehensive, precise, and expressed from multiple perspectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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