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Chronic Dis Can. 2004 Winter;25(1):13-21.

Refining the measurement of the economic burden of chronic diseases in Canada.

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Author References John Rappoport, Department of Economics, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA.


This article presents an analysis of the economic burden of a number of chronic diseases in Canada. In the analysis, we adjusted our measure of utilization of physician and hospital services for co-existing chronic diseases, which we found to be widely prevalent and to have an impact on resource use. Using data from the 1999 National Population Health Survey, we developed resource use rankings for several chronic conditions and decomposed these measures into prevalence and per-person utilization components. Our results indicate that, for the diseases with the greatest impact, resource use measures are driven more by disease prevalence than intensity of resource use. The diseases with the highest overall degree of resource use are back pain, arthritis or rheumatism, high blood pressure and migraines for people under 60; and arthritis or rheumatism and high blood pressure for people over 60. Our methods can be used to forecast the overall relative impact of resource use due to disease prevalence and per-person resource use intensity for various conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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