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BMJ Open. 2013 Jul 19;3(7). pii: e003109. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003109. Print 2013.

Chronic disease multimorbidity transitions across healthcare interfaces and associated costs: a clinical-linkage database study.

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  • 1Health Service Research Unit, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate multimorbidity transitions from general practice populations across healthcare interfaces and the associated healthcare costs.

DESIGN:

Clinical-linkage database study.

SETTING:

Population (N=60 660) aged 40 years and over registered with 53 general practices in Stoke-on-Trent.

PARTICIPANTS:

Population with six specified multimorbidity pairs were identified based on hypertension, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES:

Chronic disease registers were linked to accident and emergency (A&E) and hospital admissions for a 3-year time period (2007-2009), and associated costs measured by Healthcare Resource Groups. Associations between multimorbid groups and direct healthcare costs were compared with their respective single disease groups using linear regression methods, adjusting for age, gender and deprivation.

RESULTS:

In the study population, there were 9735 patients with hypertension and diabetes (16%), 3574 with diabetes and CHD (6%), 2894 with diabetes and CKD (5%), 1855 with COPD and CHD (3%), 754 with CHF and COPD (1%) and 1425 with CHF and CKD (2%). Transition, defined as at least one episode in each of the 3-year time periods, was as follows: patients with hypertension and DM had the fewest transitions in the 3-year time period (37% A&E episode and 51% hospital admission), but those with CHF and CKD had the most transitions (67% A&E episode and 79% hospital admission). The average 3-year total costs per multimorbid patient for A&E episodes ranged from £69 to £166 and for hospital admissions ranged from between £2289 and £5344. The adjusted costs were significantly higher for all six multimorbid groups compared with their respective single disease groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Specific common multimorbid pairs are associated with higher healthcare transitions and differential costs. Identification of multimorbidity type and linkage of information across interfaces provides opportunities for targeted intervention and delivery of integrated care.

KEYWORDS:

General Medicine (see Internal Medicine); Geriatric Medicine; Health Services Administration & Management; Public Health

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