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1.  Hospital costs of ischemic stroke and TIA in the Netherlands 
Neurology  2015;84(22):2208-2215.
There have been no ischemic stroke costing studies since major improvements were implemented in stroke care. We therefore determined hospital resource use and costs of ischemic stroke and TIA in the Netherlands for 2012.
We conducted a retrospective cost analysis using individual patient data from a national diagnosis-related group registry. We analyzed 4 subgroups: inpatient ischemic stroke, inpatient TIA, outpatient ischemic stroke, and outpatient TIA. Costs of carotid endarterectomy and costs of an extra follow-up visit were also estimated. Unit costs were based on reference prices from the Dutch Healthcare Insurance Board and tariffs provided by the Dutch Healthcare Authority. Linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between hospital costs and various patient and hospital characteristics.
A total of 35,903 ischemic stroke and 21,653 TIA patients were included. Inpatient costs were €5,328 ($6,845) for ischemic stroke and €2,470 ($3,173) for TIA. Outpatient costs were €495 ($636) for ischemic stroke and €587 ($754) for TIA. Costs of carotid endarterectomy were €6,836 ($8,783). Costs of inpatient days were the largest contributor to hospital costs. Age, hospital type, and region were strongly associated with hospital costs.
Hospital costs are higher for inpatients and ischemic strokes compared with outpatients and TIAs, with length of stay (LOS) the most important contributor. LOS and hospital costs have substantially declined over the last 10 years, possibly due to improved hospital stroke care and efficient integrated stroke services.
PMCID: PMC4456655  PMID: 25934858
2.  Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of Hypertension Screening and Treatment in Adults with Hypertension in Rural Nigeria in the Context of a Health Insurance Program 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(6):e0157925.
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for death and disability in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We evaluated the costs and cost-effectiveness of hypertension care provided within the Kwara State Health Insurance (KSHI) program in rural Nigeria.
A Markov model was developed to assess the costs and cost-effectiveness of population-level hypertension screening and subsequent antihypertensive treatment for the population at-risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) within the KSHI program. The primary outcome was the incremental cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted in the KSHI scenario compared to no access to hypertension care. We used setting-specific and empirically-collected data to inform the model. We defined two strategies to assess eligibility for antihypertensive treatment based on 1) presence of hypertension grade 1 and 10-year CVD risk of >20%, or grade 2 hypertension irrespective of 10-year CVD risk (hypertension and risk based strategy) and 2) presence of hypertension in combination with a CVD risk of >20% (risk based strategy). We generated 95% confidence intervals around the primary outcome through probabilistic sensitivity analysis. We conducted one-way sensitivity analyses across key model parameters and assessed the sensitivity of our results to the performance of the reference scenario.
Screening and treatment for hypertension was potentially cost-effective but the results were sensitive to changes in underlying assumptions with a wide range of uncertainty. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for the first and second strategy respectively ranged from US$ 1,406 to US$ 7,815 and US$ 732 to US$ 2,959 per DALY averted, depending on the assumptions on risk reduction after treatment and compared to no access to antihypertensive treatment.
Hypertension care within a subsidized private health insurance program may be cost-effective in rural Nigeria and public-private partnerships such as the KSHI program may provide opportunities to finance CVD prevention care in SSA.
PMCID: PMC4922631  PMID: 27348310
3.  A noticeable difference? Productivity costs related to paid and unpaid work in economic evaluations on expensive drugs 
Productivity costs can strongly impact cost-effectiveness outcomes. This study investigated the impact in the context of expensive hospital drugs. This study aimed to: (1) investigate the effect of productivity costs on cost-effectiveness outcomes, (2) determine whether economic evaluations of expensive drugs commonly include productivity costs related to paid and unpaid work, and (3) explore potential reasons for excluding productivity costs from the economic evaluation. We conducted a systematic literature review to identify economic evaluations of 33 expensive drugs. We analysed whether evaluations included productivity costs and whether inclusion or exclusion was related to the study population’s age, health and national health economic guidelines. The impact on cost-effectiveness outcomes was assessed in studies that included productivity costs. Of 249 identified economic evaluations of expensive drugs, 22 (9 %) included productivity costs related to paid work. One study included unpaid productivity. Mostly, productivity cost exclusion could not be explained by the study population’s age and health status, but national guidelines appeared influential. Productivity costs proved often highly influential. This study indicates that productivity costs in economic evaluations of expensive hospital drugs are commonly and inconsistently ignored in economic evaluations. This warrants caution in interpreting and comparing the results of these evaluations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10198-015-0685-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4837201  PMID: 25876834
Productivity costs; Indirect costs; Economic evaluation; Systematic review
4.  Step-by-step guideline for disease-specific costing studies in low- and middle-income countries: a mixed methodology 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.23573.
Disease-specific costing studies can be used as input into cost-effectiveness analyses and provide important information for efficient resource allocation. However, limited data availability and limited expertise constrain such studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
To describe a step-by-step guideline for conducting disease-specific costing studies in LMICs where data availability is limited and to illustrate how the guideline was applied in a costing study of cardiovascular disease prevention care in rural Nigeria.
The step-by-step guideline provides practical recommendations on methods and data requirements for six sequential steps: 1) definition of the study perspective, 2) characterization of the unit of analysis, 3) identification of cost items, 4) measurement of cost items, 5) valuation of cost items, and 6) uncertainty analyses.
We discuss the necessary tradeoffs between the accuracy of estimates and data availability constraints at each step and illustrate how a mixed methodology of accurate bottom-up micro-costing and more feasible approaches can be used to make optimal use of all available data. An illustrative example from Nigeria is provided.
An innovative, user-friendly guideline for disease-specific costing in LMICs is presented, using a mixed methodology to account for limited data availability. The illustrative example showed that the step-by-step guideline can be used by healthcare professionals in LMICs to conduct feasible and accurate disease-specific cost analyses.
PMCID: PMC3970035  PMID: 24685170
micro-costing; cost of illness; healthcare costs; methodology; developing countries; sub-Saharan Africa; global health; economic evaluation
5.  Feasibility, reliability and validity of a questionnaire on healthcare consumption and productivity loss in patients with a psychiatric disorder (TiC-P) 
Patient self-report allows collecting comprehensive data for the purpose of performing economic evaluations. The aim of the current study was to assess the feasibility, reliability and a part of the construct validity of a commonly applied questionnaire on healthcare utilization and productivity losses in patients with a psychiatric disorder (TiC-P).
Data were derived alongside two clinical trials performed in the Netherlands in patients with mental health problems. The response rate, average time of filling out the questionnaire and proportions of missing values were used as indicators of feasibility of the questionnaire. Test-retest analyses were performed including Cohen’s kappa and intra class correlation coefficients to assess reliability of the data. The construct validity was assessed by comparing patient reported data on contacts with psychotherapists and reported data on long-term absence from work with data derived from registries.
The response rate was 72%. The mean time needed for filling out the first TiC-P was 9.4 minutes. The time needed for filling out the questionnaire was 2.3 minutes less for follow up measurements. Proportions of missing values were limited (< 2.4%) except for medication for which in 10% of the cases costs could not be calculated. Cohen’s kappa was satisfactory to almost perfect for most items related to healthcare consumption and satisfactory for items on absence from work and presenteeism. Comparable results were shown by the ICCs on variables measuring volumes of medical consumption and productivity losses indicating good reliability of the questionnaire.
Absolute agreement between patient-reported data and data derived from medical registrations of the psychotherapists was satisfactory. Accepting a margin of +/− seven days, the agreement on reported and registered data on long-term absence from work was satisfactory. The validity of self-reported data using the TiC-P is promising.
The results indicate that the TiC-P is a feasible and reliable instrument for collecting data on medical consumption and productivity losses in patients with mild to moderate mental health problems. Additionally, the construct validity of questions related to contacts with psychotherapist and long-term absence from work was satisfactory.
PMCID: PMC3694473  PMID: 23768141
Patient-reported questionnaire; Healthcare utilization; Productivity losses; Reliability; Validity
6.  Cost-consequence analysis of remifentanil-based analgo-sedation vs. conventional analgesia and sedation for patients on mechanical ventilation in the Netherlands 
Critical Care  2010;14(6):R195.
Hospitals are increasingly forced to consider the economics of technology use. We estimated the incremental cost-consequences of remifentanil-based analgo-sedation (RS) vs. conventional analgesia and sedation (CS) in patients requiring mechanical ventilation (MV) in the intensive care unit (ICU), using a modelling approach.
A Markov model was developed to describe patient flow in the ICU. The hourly probabilities to move from one state to another were derived from UltiSAFE, a Dutch clinical study involving ICU patients with an expected MV-time of two to three days requiring analgesia and sedation. Study medication was either: CS (morphine or fentanyl combined with propofol, midazolam or lorazepam) or: RS (remifentanil, combined with propofol when required). Study drug costs were derived from the trial, whereas all other ICU costs were estimated separately in a Dutch micro-costing study. All costs were measured from the hospital perspective (price level of 2006). Patients were followed in the model for 28 days. We also studied the sub-population where weaning had started within 72 hours.
The average total 28-day costs were €15,626 with RS versus €17,100 with CS, meaning a difference in costs of €1474 (95% CI -2163, 5110). The average length-of-stay (LOS) in the ICU was 7.6 days in the RS group versus 8.5 days in the CS group (difference 1.0, 95% CI -0.7, 2.6), while the average MV time was 5.0 days for RS versus 6.0 days for CS. Similar differences were found in the subgroup analysis.
Compared to CS, RS significantly decreases the overall costs in the ICU.
Trial Registration NCT00158873.
PMCID: PMC3219979  PMID: 21040558
7.  A microcosting study of microsurgery, LINAC radiosurgery, and gamma knife radiosurgery in meningioma patients 
Journal of Neuro-Oncology  2010;101(2):237-245.
The aim of the present study is to determine and compare initial treatment costs of microsurgery, linear accelerator (LINAC) radiosurgery, and gamma knife radiosurgery in meningioma patients. Additionally, the follow-up costs in the first year after initial treatment were assessed. Cost analyses were performed at two neurosurgical departments in The Netherlands from the healthcare providers’ perspective. A total of 59 patients were included, of whom 18 underwent microsurgery, 15 underwent LINAC radiosurgery, and 26 underwent gamma knife radiosurgery. A standardized microcosting methodology was employed to ensure that the identified cost differences would reflect only actual cost differences. Initial treatment costs, using equipment costs per fraction, were €12,288 for microsurgery, €1,547 for LINAC radiosurgery, and €2,412 for gamma knife radiosurgery. Higher initial treatment costs for microsurgery were predominantly due to inpatient stay (€5,321) and indirect costs (€4,350). LINAC and gamma knife radiosurgery were equally expensive when equipment was valued per treatment (€2,198 and €2,412, respectively). Follow-up costs were slightly, but not significantly, higher for microsurgery compared with LINAC and gamma knife radiosurgery. Even though initial treatment costs were over five times higher for microsurgery compared with both radiosurgical treatments, our study gives indications that the relative cost difference may decrease when follow-up costs occurring during the first year after initial treatment are incorporated. This reinforces the need to consider follow-up costs after initial treatment when examining the relative costs of alternative treatments.
PMCID: PMC2996536  PMID: 20526795
Cost comparison; Meningioma; Microcosting; Microsurgery; Radiosurgery

Results 1-7 (7)