The cost effectiveness of strategies for the treatment of intestinal parasites in immigrants. (1/2098)

BACKGROUND: Currently, more than 600,000 immigrants enter the United States each year from countries where intestinal parasites are endemic. At entry persons with parasitic infections may be asymptomatic, and stool examinations are not a sensitive method of screening for parasitosis. Albendazole is a new, broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug, which was approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration. International trials have shown albendazole to be safe and effective in eradicating many parasites. In the United States there is now disagreement about whether to screen all immigrants for parasites, treat all immigrants presumptively, or do nothing unless they have symptoms. METHODS: We compared the costs and benefits of no preventive intervention (watchful waiting) with those of universal screening or presumptive treatment with 400 mg of albendazole per day for five days. Those at risk were defined as immigrants to the United States from Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Cost effectiveness was expressed both in terms of the cost of treatment per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted (one DALY is defined as the loss of one year of healthy life to disease) and in terms of the cost per hospitalization averted. RESULTS: As compared with watchful waiting, presumptive treatment of all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would avert at least 870 DALYs, prevent at least 33 deaths and 374 hospitalizations, and save at least $4.2 million per year. As compared with watchful waiting, screening would cost $159,236 per DALY averted. CONCLUSIONS: Presumptive administration of albendazole to all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would save lives and money. Universal screening, with treatment of persons with positive stool examinations, would save lives but is less cost effective than presumptive treatment.  (+info)

An interactive videodisc program for low back pain patients. (2/2098)

Decisions about back pain treatment are often made in the presence of both physician and patient uncertainty. Therefore, we developed a computerized, interactive video program to help patients make informed decisions about undergoing low back surgery. Program development was guided by the shared decision-making model, a comprehensive literature synthesis, information from administrative databases, and focus groups of patients and physicians. Core segments are tailored to each patient's age and diagnosis; and include a narrative, excerpts from patient interviews, animated graphics illustrating spinal anatomy, and tabular summaries of the benefits and risks of both surgical and non-surgical treatment. As part of a multifocal information dissemination effort, interactive videodiscs were placed in five medical facilities in two Washington State counties. Patients (N = 239) who viewed the video program completed short evaluation forms. The majority rated the video's understandability (84%) and interest (64%) as very good or excellent. Most patients felt the amount of information provided was appropriate (75%) and over half (56%) believed the discussion of surgical versus non-surgical treatment was completely balanced. Fewer patients (17%) remained undecided about therapy after watching the program than before (29%). We conclude that interactive videodisc technology offers substantial promise as a means of involving patients in their own medical decision making.  (+info)

Strategy and cost in investigating solitary pulmonary nodules. (3/2098)

OBJECTIVE: To compare the probability of cancer in a solitary pulmonary nodule using standard criteria with Bayesian analysis and result of 2-[F-18] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose-positron emission tomographic (FDG-PET) scan. SETTING: A university hospital and a teaching Veteran Affairs Medical Center. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of 52 patients who had undergone both CT scan of the chest and a FDG-PET scan for evaluation of a solitary pulmonary nodule. FDG-PET scan was classified as abnormal or normal. Utilizing Bayesian analysis, the probability of cancer using "standard criteria" available in the literature, based on patient's age, history of previous malignancy, smoking history, size and edge of nodule, and presence or absence of calcification were calculated and compared to the probability of cancer based on an abnormal or normal FDG-PET scan. Histologic study of the nodules was the gold standard. RESULTS: The likelihood ratios for malignancy in a solitary pulmonary nodule with an abnormal FDG-PET scan was 7.11 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.36 to 7.96), suggesting a high probability for malignancy, and 0.06 (95% CI, 0.05 to 0.07) when the PET scan was normal, suggesting a high probability for benign nodule. FDG-PET scan as a single test alone was more accurate than the standard criteria and standard criteria plus PET scan in correctly classifying nodules as malignant or benign. CONCLUSION: FDG-PET scan as a single test was a better predictor of malignancy in solitary pulmonary nodules than the standard criteria using Bayesian analysis. FDG-PET scan can be a useful adjunct test in the evaluation of solitary pulmonary nodules.  (+info)

Financial and organizational determinants of hospital diversification into subacute care. (4/2098)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the financial, market, and organizational determinants of hospital diversification into subacute inpatient care by acute care hospitals in order to guide hospital managers in undertaking such diversification efforts. STUDY SETTING: All nongovernment, general, acute care, community hospitals that were operating during the years 1985 through 1991 (3,986 hospitals in total). DATA SOURCES: Cross-sectional, time-series data were drawn from the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Annual Survey of Hospitals, the Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) Medicare Cost Reports, a latitude and longitude listing for all community hospital addresses, and the Area Resource File (ARF) published in 1992, which provides county level environmental variables. STUDY DESIGN: The study is longitudinal, enabling the specification of temporal patterns in conversion, causal inferences, and the treatment of right-censoring problems. The unit of analysis is the individual hospital. KEY FINDINGS: Significant differences were found in the average level of subacute care offered by investor-owned versus tax-exempt hospitals. After controlling for selection bias, financial performance, risk, size, occupancy, and other variables, IO hospitals offered 31.3 percent less subacute care than did NFP hospitals. Financial performance and risk are predictors of IO hospitals' diversification into subacute care, but not of NFP hospitals' activities in this market. Resource availability appears to expedite expansion into subacute care for both types of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Investment criteria and strategy differ between investor-owned and tax-exempt hospitals.  (+info)

Evaluating the sale of a nonprofit health system to a for-profit hospital management company: the Legacy Experience. (5/2098)

OBJECTIVE: To introduce and develop a decision model that can be used by the leadership of nonprofit healthcare organizations to assist them in evaluating whether selling to a for-profit organization is in their community's best interest. STUDY SETTING/DATA SOURCES: A case study of the planning process and decision model that Legacy Health System used to evaluate whether to sell to a for-profit hospital management company and use the proceeds of the sale to establish a community health foundation. Data sources included financial statements of benchmark organizations, internal company records, and numerous existing studies. STUDY DESIGN: The development of the multivariate model was based on insight gathered through a review of the current literature regarding the conversion of nonprofit healthcare organizations. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: The effect that conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status would have on each variable was estimated based on assumptions drawn from the current literature and on an analysis of Legacy and for-profit hospital company data. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The results of the decision model calculations indicate that the sale of Legacy to a for-profit firm and the subsequent creation of a community foundation would have a negative effect on the local community. CONCLUSIONS: The use of the decision model enabled senior management and trustees to systematically address the conversion question and to conclude that continuing to operate as a nonprofit organization would provide the most benefit to the local community. The model will prove useful to organizations that decide to sell to a for-profit organization as well as those that choose to continue nonprofit operations. For those that decide to sell, the model will assist in minimizing any potential negative effect that conversion may have on the community. The model will help those who choose not to sell to develop a better understanding of the organization's value to the community.  (+info)

Cost comparison of predictive genetic testing versus conventional clinical screening for familial adenomatous polyposis. (6/2098)

BACKGROUND: Mutations of the APC gene cause familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a hereditary colorectal cancer predisposition syndrome. AIMS: To conduct a cost comparison analysis of predictive genetic testing versus conventional clinical screening for individuals at risk of inheriting FAP, using the perspective of a third party payer. METHODS: All direct health care costs for both screening strategies were measured according to time and motion, and the expected costs evaluated using a decision analysis model. RESULTS: The baseline analysis predicted that screening a prototype FAP family would cost $4975/ pound3109 by molecular testing and $8031/ pound5019 by clinical screening strategy, when family members were monitored with the same frequency of clinical surveillance (every two to three years). Sensitivity analyses revealed that the genetic testing approach is cost saving for key variables including the kindred size, the age of screening onset, and the cost of mutation identification in a proband. However, if the APC mutation carriers were monitored at an increased (annual) frequency, the cost of the genetic screening strategy increased to $7483/ pound4677 and was especially sensitive to variability in age of onset of screening, family size, and cost of genetic testing of at risk relatives. CONCLUSIONS: In FAP kindreds, a predictive genetic testing strategy costs less than conventional clinical screening, provided that the frequency of surveillance is identical using either strategy. An additional significant benefit is the elimination of unnecessary colonic examinations for those family members found to be non-carriers.  (+info)

Is axillary lymph node dissection indicated for early-stage breast cancer? A decision analysis. (7/2098)

PURPOSE: Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) has been a standard procedure in the management of breast cancer. In a patient with a clinically negative axilla, ALND is performed primarily for staging purposes, to guide adjuvant treatment. Recently, the routine use of ALND has been questioned because the results of the procedure may not change the choice of adjuvant systemic therapy and/or the survival benefit of a change in adjuvant therapy would be small. We constructed a decision model to quantify the benefits of ALND for patients eligible for breast-conserving therapy. METHODS: Patients were grouped by age, tumor size, and estrogen receptor (ER) status. The model uses the Oxford overviews and three combined Cancer and Leukemia Group B studies. We assumed that patients who did not undergo ALND received axillary radiation therapy and that the two procedures are equally effective. All chemotherapy combinations were assumed to be equally efficacious. RESULTS: The largest benefits from ALND are seen in ER-positive women with small primary tumors who might not be candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy if their lymph nodes test negative. Virtually no benefit results in ER-negative women, almost all of whom would receive adjuvant chemotherapy. When adjusted for quality of life (QOL), ALND may have an overall negative impact. In general, the benefits of ALND increase with the expected severity of adjuvant therapy on QOL CONCLUSION: Our model quantifies the benefits of ALND and assists decision making by patients and physicians. The results suggest that the routine use of ALND in breast cancer patients should be reassessed and may not be necessary in many patients.  (+info)

Determining the cost of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a decision analytic model. (8/2098)

OBJECTIVE: To design a decision analytic model to help determine the costs associated with various treatment regimens for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). STUDY DESIGN: A decision analytic model incorporating Markov processes was developed to calculate clinical and direct economic outcomes for patients with GERD after 2 years of treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used retrospective data in the Markov model to generate clinical and economic outcomes. The primary data sources were the 1993 MarketScan claims database, the 1992 National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the clinical literature. RESULTS: Patients with mild GERD (17.6% of patients) contributed 37.8% of costs, while those with moderate to severe disease (14.4% of patients) contributed 49.9% of costs. The remaining 12.3% of costs was spent on the 68% of patients with non-GERD diagnoses. The class of drugs with the highest acquisition cost--proton pump inhibitors--had the lowest total cost per case. The high level of efficacy of these drugs may explain this result. Sensitivity testing showed no evidence that our model's results depended heavily on any one probability or cost factor. CONCLUSIONS: This model showed that patients with moderate to severe GERD were the most expensive cases to treat and that proton pump inhibitors resulted in the lowest total cost per case. Further testing and manipulation of the model are required to gain a better understanding of the trade-offs involved in different options for GERD management.  (+info)