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1.  Is use of fall risk-increasing drugs in an elderly population associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, after adjustment for multimorbidity level: a cohort study 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14(1):131.
Risk factors for hip fracture are well studied because of the negative impact on patients and the community, with mortality in the first year being almost 30% in the elderly. Age, gender and fall risk-increasing drugs, identified by the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden, are well known risk factors for hip fracture, but how multimorbidity level affects the risk of hip fracture during use of fall risk-increasing drugs is to our knowledge not as well studied. This study explored the relationship between use of fall risk-increasing drugs in combination with multimorbidity level and risk of hip fracture in an elderly population.
Data were from Östergötland County, Sweden, and comprised the total population in the county aged 75 years and older during 2006. The odds ratio (OR) for hip fracture during use of fall risk-increasing drugs was calculated by multivariate logistic regression, adjusted for age, gender and individual multimorbidity level. Multimorbidity level was estimated with the Johns Hopkins ACG Case-Mix System and grouped into six Resource Utilization Bands (RUBs 0–5).
2.07% of the study population (N = 38,407) had a hip fracture during 2007. Patients using opioids (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.34-1.82), dopaminergic agents (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.24-2.55), anxiolytics (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.11-1.54), antidepressants (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.42-1.95) or hypnotics/sedatives (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.13-1.52) had increased ORs for hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level. Vasodilators used in cardiac diseases, antihypertensive agents, diuretics, beta-blocking agents, calcium channel blockers and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors were not associated with an increased OR for hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level.
Use of fall risk-increasing drugs such as opioids, dopaminergic agents, anxiolytics, antidepressants and hypnotics/sedatives increases the risk of hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level. Fall risk-increasing drugs, high age, female gender and multimorbidity level, can be used to identify high-risk patients who could benefit from a medication review to reduce the risk of hip fracture.
PMCID: PMC4286212  PMID: 25475854
Hip fracture; Multimorbidity level; Fall risk-increasing drugs; Elderly; Medication review; Sweden
2.  Prosthetic joint infections – a need for health economy studies 
Acta Orthopaedica  2014;85(3):218-220.
PMCID: PMC4062785  PMID: 24758324
3.  Can gender difference in prescription drug use be explained by gender-related morbidity?: a study on a Swedish population during 2006 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:329.
It has been reported that there is a difference in drug prescription between males and females. Even after adjustment for multi-morbidity, females tend to use more prescription drugs compared to males. In this study, we wanted to analyse whether the gender difference in drug treatment could be explained by gender-related morbidity.
Data was collected on all individuals 20 years and older in the county of Östergötland in Sweden. The Johns Hopkins ACG Case-Mix System was used to calculate individual level of multi-morbidity. A report from the Swedish National Institute of Public Health using the WHO term DALY was the basis for gender-related morbidity. Prescription drugs used to treat diseases that mainly affect females were excluded from the analyses.
The odds of having prescription drugs for males, compared to females, increased from 0.45 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.44-0.46) to 0.82 (95% CI 0.81-0.83) after exclusion of prescription drugs that are used to treat diseases that mainly affect females.
Gender-related morbidity and the use of anti-conception drugs may explain a large part of the difference in prescription drug use between males and females but still there remains a difference between the genders at 18%. This implicates that it is of importance to take the gender-related morbidity into consideration, and to exclude anti-conception drugs, when performing studies regarding difference in drug use between the genders.
PMCID: PMC3983669  PMID: 24713023
Prescription drugs; Multi-morbidity; Gender difference; Gender-related morbidity
4.  Can costs of screening for hypertension and diabetes in dental care and follow-up in primary health care be predicted? 
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences  2013;118(4):256-262.
The purpose was to assess the direct costs of screening for high blood pressure and blood glucose in dental care and of follow-up in primary health care and, based on these data, arrive at a prediction function.
Study population.
All subjects coming for routine check-ups at three dental health clinics were invited to have blood pressure or blood glucose measurements; 1,623 agreed to participate. Subjects screening positive were referred to their primary health care centres for follow-up.
Information on individual screening time was registered during the screening process, and information on accountable time, costs for the screening staff, overhead costs, and analysis costs for the screening was obtained from the participating dental clinics. The corresponding items in primary care, i.e. consultation time, number of follow-up appointments, accountable time, costs for the follow-up staff, overhead costs, and analysis costs during follow-up were obtained from the primary health care centres.
The total screening costs per screened subject ranged from €7.4 to €9.2 depending on subgroups, corresponding to 16.7–42.7 staff minutes. The corresponding follow-up costs were €57–€91. The total resource used for screening and follow-up per diagnosis was 563–3,137 staff minutes. There was a strong relationship between resource use and numbers needed to screen (NNS) to find one diagnosis (P < 0.0001, degree of explanation 99%).
Screening and follow-up costs were moderate and appear to be lower for combined screening of blood pressure and blood glucose than for separate screening. There was a strong relationship between resource use and NNS.
PMCID: PMC4192423  PMID: 23957310
Costs; dental care; diabetes mellitus type 2; early diagnosis; high blood pressure; primary health care
5.  Distance to hospital and socioeconomic status influence secondary health care use 
The aim of this study was to investigate how distance to hospital and socioeconomic status (SES) influence the use of secondary health care (SHC) when taking comorbidity into account.
Design and setting
A register-based study in Östergötland County.
The adult population of Östergötland County.
Main outcome measures
Odds of SHC use in the population and rates of SHC use by patients were studied after taking into account comorbidity level assigned using the Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACG) Case-Mix System. The baseline for analysis of SES was individuals with the lowest education level (level 1) and the lowest income (1st quartile).
The study showed both positive and negative association between SES and use of SHC. The risk of incurring SHC costs was 12% higher for individuals with education level 1. Individuals with income in the 2nd quartile had a 4% higher risk of incurring SHC costs but a 17% lower risk of emergency department visits. Individuals with income in the 4th quartile had 9% lower risk of hospitalization. The risk of using SHC services for the population was not associated with distance to hospital. Patients living over 40 km from hospital and patients with higher SES had lower use of SHC services.
It was found that distance to hospital and SES influence SHC use after adjusting for comorbidity level, age, and gender. These results suggest that GPs and health care managers should pay a higher degree of attention to this when planning primary care services in order to minimize the potentially redundant use of SHC.
PMCID: PMC3656400  PMID: 23301541
Case-mix; comorbidity; general practice; geographical distance; health care utilization; socioeconomic status; Sweden
6.  Point-of-Care Troponin T Testing in the Management of Patients with Chest Pain in the Swedish Primary Care 
Objective. To investigate the diagnostic accuracy and clinical benefit of point-of-care Troponin T testing (POCT-TnT) in the management of patients with chest pain. Design. Observational, prospective, cross-sectional study with followup. Setting. Three primary health care (PHC) centres using POCT-TnT and four PHC centres not using POCT-TnT in the southeast of Sweden. Patients. All patients ≥35 years old, contacting one of the primary health care centres for chest pain, dyspnoea on exertion, unexplained weakness, and/or fatigue with no other probable cause than cardiac, were included. Symptoms should have commenced or worsened during the last seven days. Main Outcome Measures. Emergency referrals, patients with acute myocardial infarctions (AMI), or unstable angina (UA) within 30 days of study enrolment. Results. 25% of the patients from PHC centres with POCT-TnT and 43% from PHC centres without POCT-TnT were emergently referred by the GP (P = 0.011 ). Seven patients (5.5%) from PHC centres with POCT-TnT and six (8.8%) from PHC centres without POCT-TnT were diagnosed as AMI or UA (P = 0.369). Two patients with AMI or UA from PHC centres with POCT-TnT were judged as missed cases in primary health care. Conclusion. The use of POCT-TnT may reduce emergency referrals but probably at the cost of an increased risk to miss patients with AMI or UA.
PMCID: PMC3556440  PMID: 23365746
7.  Setting priorities in primary health care - on whose conditions? A questionnaire study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:114.
In Sweden three key criteria are used for priority setting: severity of the health condition; patient benefit; and cost-effectiveness. They are derived from the ethical principles established by the Swedish parliament 1997 but have been used only to a limited extent in primary care. The aim of this study was to describe and analyse: 1) GPs', nurses', and patients' prioritising in routine primary care 2) The association between the three key priority setting criteria and the overall priority assigned by the GPs and nurses to individual patients.
Paired questionnaires were distributed to all patients and the GPs or nurses they had contact with during a 2-week period at four health centres in Sweden. The staff registered the health conditions or health problem, and the planned intervention. Then they estimated the severity of the health condition, the expected patient benefit, and the cost-effectiveness of the planned intervention. Both the staff and the patients reported their overall prioritisation of the patient. In total, 1851 paired questionnaires were collected.
Compared to the medical staff, the patients assigned relatively higher priority to acute/minor conditions than to preventive check-ups for chronic conditions. Severity of the health condition was the priority setting criterion that had the strongest association with the overall priority for the staff as a whole, but for the GPs it was cost-effectiveness.
The challenge for primary care providers is to balance the patients' demands with medical needs and cost-effectiveness. Transparent priority setting in primary care might contribute to a greater consensus between GPs and nurses on how to use the key priority setting criteria.
PMCID: PMC3528614  PMID: 23181453
8.  Health problems in elderly patients during the first post-stroke year 
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences  2012;117(3):318-327.
A wide range of health problems has been reported in elderly post-stroke patients.
The aim of this study was to analyse the prevalence and timing of health problems identified by patient interviews and scrutiny of primary health care and municipality elderly health care records during the first post-stroke year.
A total of 390 consecutive patients, ≥65 years, discharged alive from hospital after a stroke event, were followed for 1 year post-admission. Information on the health care situation during the first post-stroke year was obtained from primary health care and municipal elderly health care records and through interviews with the stroke survivors, at 1 week after discharge, and 3 and 12 months after hospital admission.
More than 90% had some health problem at some time during the year, while based on patient record data only 4–8% had problems during a given week. The prevalence of interview-based health problems was generally higher than record-based prevalence, and the ranking order was moderately different. The most frequently interview-reported problems were associated with perception, activity, and tiredness, while the most common record-based findings indicated pain, bladder and bowel function, and breathing and circulation problems. There was co-occurrence between some problems, such as those relating to cognition, activity, and tiredness.
Almost all patients had a health problem during the year, but few occurred in a given week. Cognitive and communication problems were more common in interview data than record data. Co-occurrence may be used to identify subtle health problems.
PMCID: PMC3410292  PMID: 22554141
Documentation; health problem; nursing; prevalence; time course
9.  Licit prescription drug use in a Swedish population according to age, gender and socioeconomic status after adjusting for level of multi-morbidity 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:575.
There is a great variability in licit prescription drug use in the population and among patients. Factors other than purely medical ones have proven to be of importance for the prescribing of licit drugs. For example, individuals with a high age, female gender and low socioeconomic status are more likely to use licit prescription drugs. However, these results have not been adjusted for multi-morbidity level. In this study we investigate the odds of using licit prescription drugs among individuals in the population and the rate of licit prescription drug use among patients depending on gender, age and socioeconomic status after adjustment for multi-morbidity level.
The study was carried out on the total population aged 20 years or older in Östergötland county with about 400 000 inhabitants in year 2006. The Johns Hopkins ACG Case-mix was used as a proxy for the individual level of multi-morbidity in the population to which we have related the odds ratio for individuals and incidence rate ratio (IRR) for patients of using licit prescription drugs, defined daily doses (DDDs) and total costs of licit prescription drugs after adjusting for age, gender and socioeconomic factors (educational and income level).
After adjustment for multi-morbidity level male individuals had less than half the odds of using licit prescription drugs (OR 0.41 (95% CI 0.40-0.42)) compared to female individuals. Among the patients, males had higher total costs (IRR 1.14 (95% CI 1.13-1.15)). Individuals above 80 years had nine times the odds of using licit prescription drugs (OR 9.09 (95% CI 8.33-10.00)) despite adjustment for multi-morbidity. Patients in the highest education and income level had the lowest DDDs (IRR 0.78 (95% CI 0.76-0.80), IRR 0.73 (95% CI 0.71-0.74)) after adjustment for multi-morbidity level.
This paper shows that there is a great variability in licit prescription drug use associated with gender, age and socioeconomic status, which is not dependent on level of multi-morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3444332  PMID: 22846625
Age; Gender; Multi-morbidity; Licit prescription drug use; Case-mix; Multi-morbidity; Primary health care; Sweden
10.  GPs´ decision-making - perceiving the patient as a person or a disease 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:38.
The aim of this study was to analyse the clinical decision making strategies of GPs with regard to the whole range of problems encountered in everyday work.
A prospective questionnaire study was carried through, where 16 General practitioners in Sweden registered consecutively 378 problems in 366 patients.
68.3% of the problems were registered as somatic, 5.8% as psychosocial and 25.9% as both somatic and psychosocial. When the problem was characterised as somatic the main emphasis was most often on the symptoms only, and when the problem was psychosocial main emphasis was given to the person. Immediate, inductive, decision-making contrary to gradual, analytical, was used for about half of the problems. Immediate decision-making was less often used when problems were registered as both somatic and psychosocial and focus was on both the symptoms and the person. When immediate decision-making was used the GPs were significantly more often certain of their identification of the problem and significantly more satisfied with their consultation. Rules of thumb in consultations registered as somatic with emphasis on symptoms only did not include any reference to the individual patient. In consultations registered as psychosocial with emphasis on the person, rules of thumb often included reference to the patient as a known person.
The decision-making (immediate or gradual) registered by the GPs seemed to have been adjusted on the symptom or on the patient as a person. Our results indicate that the GPs seem to recognise immediately both problems and persons, hence the quintessence of the expert skill of the GP as developed through experience.
PMCID: PMC3464802  PMID: 22591163
11.  How does comorbidity influence healthcare costs? A population-based cross-sectional study of depression, back pain and osteoarthritis 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000809.
To analyse how comorbidity among patients with back pain, depression and osteoarthritis influences healthcare costs per patient. A special focus was made on the distribution of costs for primary healthcare compared with specialist care, hospital care and drugs.
Population-based cross-sectional study.
The County of Östergötland, Sweden.
Data on diagnoses and healthcare costs for all 266 354 individuals between 20 and 75 years of age, who were residents of the County of Östergötland, Sweden, in the year 2006, were extracted from the local healthcare register and the national register of drug prescriptions.
Main outcome measures
The effects of comorbidity on healthcare costs were estimated as interactions in regression models that also included age, sex, number of other health conditions and education.
The largest diagnosed group was back pain (11 178 patients) followed by depression (7412 patients) and osteoarthritis (5174 patients). The largest comorbidity subgroup was the combination of back pain and depression (772 patients), followed by the combination of back pain and osteoarthritis (527 patients) and the combination of depression and osteoarthritis (206 patients). For patients having both a depression diagnosis and a back pain diagnosis, there was a significant negative interaction effect on total healthcare costs. The average healthcare costs among patients with depression and back pain was SEK 11 806 lower for a patient with both diagnoses. In this comorbidity group, there were tendencies of a positive interaction for general practitioner visits and negative interactions for all other visits and hospital days. Small or no interactions at all were seen between depression diagnoses and osteoarthritis diagnoses.
A small increase in primary healthcare visits in comorbid back pain and depression patients was accompanied with a substantial reduction in total healthcare costs and in hospital costs. Our results can be of value in analysing the cost effects of comorbidity and how the coordination of primary and secondary care may have an impact on healthcare costs.
Article summary
Article focus
Comorbidity is often associated with high healthcare costs and raises questions that are of interest for the organisation of primary and secondary healthcare, for example, what is the impact on healthcare costs?
Is there an increase in costs because the complexity is high in the management of the different diseases? Or maybe there is a decline in costs due to an efficient handling and therefore a lower numbers of healthcare contacts for single persons with many diseases?
Key messages
The comorbidity influence on healthcare costs tended to be less—not more—than additive and among patients with back pain and depression, significantly less than additive.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The possibility to measure total healthcare utilisation on an individual level both in primary care and hospital care was an advantage in this study.
There are broad clinical variations in register data, for instance variations in the definition of diagnoses. An under-reporting of diagnoses in the medical records is common, especially in primary care.
PMCID: PMC3341593  PMID: 22535792
12.  Co-morbidity and health care utilisation five years prior to diagnosis for depression. A register-based study in a Swedish population 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:552.
Depressive disorders have been associated with a number of co-morbidities, and we hypothesized that patients with a depression diagnosis would be heavy users of health care services, not only when first evaluated for depression, but also for preceding years. The aim of this study was to investigate whether increased health care utilisation and co-morbidity could be seen during five years prior to an initial diagnosis of depression.
We used a longitudinal register-based study design. The setting comprised the general population in the county of Östergötland, south-east Sweden. All 2470 patients who were 20 years or older in 2006 and who received a new diagnosis of depression (F32 according to ICD-10) in 2006, were selected and followed back to the year 2001, five years before their depression diagnosis. A control group was randomly selected among those who were aged 20 years or over in 2006 and who had received no depression diagnosis during the period 2001-2006.
Predictors of a depression diagnosis were a high number of physician visits, female gender, age below 60, age above 80 and a low socioeconomic status.
Patients who received a diagnosis of depression used twice the amount of health care (e.g. physician visits and hospital days) during the five year period prior to diagnosis compared to the control group. A particularly strong increase in health care utilisation was seen the last year before diagnosis. These findings were supported with a high level of co-morbidity as for example musculoskeletal disorders during the whole five-year period for patients with a depression diagnosis.
Predictors of a depression diagnosis were a high number of physician visits, female gender, age below 60, age above 80 and a low socioeconomic status. To find early signs of depression in the clinical setting and to use a preventive strategy to handle these patients is important.
PMCID: PMC3144006  PMID: 21749713
13.  Priority setting in primary health care - dilemmas and opportunities: a focus group study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:71.
Swedish health care authorities use three key criteria to produce national guidelines for local priority setting: severity of the health condition, expected patient benefit, and cost-effectiveness of medical intervention. Priority setting in primary health care (PHC) has significant implications for health costs and outcomes in the health care system. Nevertheless, these guidelines have been implemented to a very limited degree in PHC. The objective of the study was to qualitatively assess how general practitioners (GPs) and nurses perceive the application of the three key priority-setting criteria.
Focus groups were held with GPs and nurses at primary health care centres, where the staff had a short period of experience in using the criteria for prioritising in their daily work.
The staff found the three key priority-setting criteria (severity, patient benefit, and cost-effectiveness) to be valuable for priority setting in PHC. However, when the criteria were applied in PHC, three additional dimensions were identified: 1) viewpoint (medical or patient's), 2) timeframe (now or later), and 3) evidence level (group or individual).
The three key priority-setting criteria were useful. Considering the three additional dimensions might enhance implementation of national guidelines in PHC and is probably a prerequisite for the criteria to be useful in priority setting for individual patients.
PMCID: PMC2955602  PMID: 20863364
14.  Primary care patients’ attitudes to priority setting in Sweden 
To analyse attitudes to priority setting among patients in Swedish primary healthcare.
A questionnaire was given to patients comprising statements on attitudes towards prioritizing, on the role of politicians and healthcare staff in prioritizing, and on patient satisfaction with the outcome of their contact with primary healthcare (PHC).
Four healthcare centres in Sweden, chosen through purposive sampling.
All the patients in contact with the health centres during a two-week period in 2004 (2517 questionnaires, 72% returned).
Main outcomes
Patient attitudes to priority setting and satisfaction with the outcome of their contact.
More than 75% of the patients agreed with statements like “Public health services should always provide the best possible care, irrespective of cost”. Almost three-quarters of the patients wanted healthcare staff rather than politicians to make decisions on priority setting. Younger patients and males were more positive towards priority setting and they also had a more positive view of the role of politicians. Less than 10% of the patients experienced some kind of economic rationing but the majority of these patients were satisfied with their contact with primary care.
Primary care patient opinions concerning priority setting are a challenge for both politicians and GPs. The fact that males and younger patients are less negative to prioritizing may pave the way for a future dialogue between politicians and the general public.
PMCID: PMC3410460  PMID: 19466679
Health priorities; family practice; patient participation; patient satisfaction; primary healthcare; rationing
15.  The perceived meaning of a (w)holistic view among general practitioners and district nurses in Swedish primary care: a qualitative study 
The definition of primary care varies between countries. Swedish primary care has developed from a philosophic viewpoint based on quality, accessibility, continuity, co-operation and a holistic view. The meaning of holism in international literature differs between medicine and nursing. The question is, if the difference is due to different educational traditions. Due to the uncertainties in defining holism and a holistic view we wished to study, in depth, how holism is perceived by doctors and nurses in their clinical work. Thus, the aim was to explore the perceived meaning of a holistic view among general practitioners (GPs) and district nurses (DNs).
Seven focus group interviews with a purposive sample of 22 GPs and 20 nurses working in primary care in two Swedish county councils were conducted. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The analysis resulted in three categories, attitude, knowledge, and circumstances, with two, two and four subcategories respectively. A professional attitude involves recognising the whole person; not only fragments of a person with a disease. Factual knowledge is acquired through special training and long professional experience. Tacit knowledge is about feelings and social competence. Circumstances can either be barriers or facilitators. A holistic view is a strong motivator and as such it is a facilitator. The way primary care is organised can be either a barrier or a facilitator and could influence the use of a holistic approach. Defined geographical districts and care teams facilitate a holistic view with house calls being essential, particularly for nurses. In preventive work and palliative care, a holistic view was stated to be specifically important. Consultations and communication with the patient were seen as important tools.
'Holistic view' is multidimensional, well implemented and very much alive among both GPs and DNs. The word holistic should really be spelt 'wholistic' to avoid confusion with complementary and alternative medicine. It was obvious that our participants were able to verbalise the meaning of a 'wholistic' view through narratives about their clinical, every day work. The possibility to implement a 'wholistic' perspective in their work with patients offers a strong motivation for GPs and DNs.
PMCID: PMC1828160  PMID: 17346340
16.  Self-monitoring of blood glucose and glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes 
Previous studies have shown inconsistent results with regard to whether or not self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is related to better glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to explore the use of SMBG and its association with glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes in primary care.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in 2003 at 18 primary health care centres in Sweden, in which all known patients with diabetes were surveyed. The study included 6495 patients with type 2 diabetes. A sample of 896 patients was selected for further exploration of data from medical records. A telephone interview was performed with all patients in this group using SMBG (533 patients).
There were no differences in HbA1c levels between users (6.9%) and non-users (6.8%) of SMBG in patients treated with insulin or in patients treated with oral agents (6.3% in both groups). In patients treated with diet only, users of SMBG had higher levels of HbA1c compared with non-users (5.5% vs. 5.4%, p =0.002). Comparing medical records between users and non-users of SMBG showed no differences in diabetes-related complications in any treatment category group.
The use of SMBG was not associated with improved glycaemic control in any therapy category of patients with type 2 diabetes in primary care. The absence of difference in glycaemic control between users and non-users of SMBG could not be explained by differences in comorbidity between users and non-users of SMBG.
PMCID: PMC3379772  PMID: 17846931
Family practice; glycaemic control; primary care; self-monitoring; type 2 diabetes
17.  The importance of comorbidity in analysing patient costs in Swedish primary care 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:36.
The objective was to explore the usefulness of the morbidity risk adjustment system Adjusted Clinical Groups® (ACG), in comparison with age and gender, in explaining and estimating patient costs on an individual level in Swedish primary health care. Data were retrieved from two primary health care centres in southeastern Sweden.
A cross-sectional observational study. Data from electronic patient registers from the two centres were retrieved for 2001 and 2002, and patients were grouped into ACGs, expressing the individual combination of diagnoses and thus the comorbidity. Costs per patient were calculated for both years in both centres. Cost data from one centre were used to create ACG weights. These weights were then applied to patients at the other centre. Correlations between individual patient costs, age, gender and ACG weights were studied. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed in order to explain and estimate patient costs.
The variation in individual patient costs was substantial within age groups as well as within ACG weight groups. About 37.7% of the individual patient costs could be explained by ACG weights, and age and gender added about 0.8%. The individual patient costs in 2001 estimated 22.0% of patient costs in 2002, whereas ACG weights estimated 14.3%.
ACGs was an important factor in explaining and estimating individual patient costs in primary health care. Costs were explained to only a minor extent by age and gender. However, the usefulness of the ACG system appears to be sensitive to the accuracy of classification and coding of diagnoses by physicians.
PMCID: PMC1459136  PMID: 16483369

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