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Allergy. 1996 May;51(5):313-9.

Economic analysis of two structured treatment and teaching programs on asthma.

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Department of Pneumology, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Tradate, Italy.


The aims of the present study were as follows: 1) to evaluate the medical outcomes of two treatment and educational asthma programs 2) to determine by cost-analysis both cost and economic outcome of the programs 3) to perform a cost-benefit analysis (determining the net cost-benefit) and a cost-effectiveness analysis (determining the cost per unit of effect and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio) from the perspective of health program policy makers (HPP; indirect costs, i.e., loss of productivity, excluded) and of society as a whole (SaW, all costs included). Patients were randomly assigned to a complete (CP; n = 32) or reduced (RP; n = 33) program: the RP group received a reduced education (self-reading of an educational booklet on asthma), while the CP group attended an "asthma school", consisting of six lessons based on the same booklet and including educational videotapes. Both programs included peak-flow monitoring and treatment according to international guidelines, and follow-up. The outcome variables (asthma attacks, urgent medical examinations, admission days, working days lost) did not differ significantly between CP and RP. Morbidity savings were $1894.70 (CP) and $1697.80 (RP) according to SaW, and $1349.50 and $1301.80, respectively, according to HPP. The net cost-benefit was $1181.50 for CP and $1028.00 for RP, and the cost-benefit ratio per dollar spent was 1:2.6 for CP and 1:2.5 for RP, according to SaW. One day of admission prevented had a cost of $110.20 (CP) and $94.10 (RP). CP gave slightly better results and was slightly more cost-effective than RP in improving patients' welfare. It cannot be excluded that the retrospective analysis used to determine baseline costs might have inflated differences for both groups. Sensitivity analysis was slightly in favor of RP when the outcome variables were tested at their upper and lower 95% CI.

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