Development of the physical therapy outpatient satisfaction survey (PTOPS).
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purposes of this 3-phase study were (1) to identify the underlying components of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy and (2) to develop a test that would yield reliable and valid measurements of these components. SUBJECTS: Three samples, consisting of 177, 257, and 173 outpatients from 21 facilities, were used in phases 1, 2, and 3, respectively. METHODS AND RESULTS: In phase 1, principal component analyses (PCAs), reliability checks, and correlations with social desirability scales were used to reduce a pool of 98 items to 32 items. These analyses identified a 5-component model of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy. The phase 2 PCA, with a revised pool of 48 items, indicated that 4 components rather than 5 components represented the best model and resulted in the 34-item Physical Therapy Outpatient Satisfaction Survey (PTOPS). Factor analyses conducted with phase 2 and phase 3 data supported this conclusion and provided evidence for the internal validity of the PTOPS scores. The 4-component scales were labeled "Enhancers," "Detractors," "Location," and "Cost." Responses from subsamples of phase 3 subjects provided evidence for validity of scores in that the PTOPS components of "Enhancers," "Detractors," and "Cost" appeared to differentiate overtly satisfied patients from overtly dissatisfied patients. "Location" and "Enhancer" scores discriminated subjects with excellent attendance at scheduled physical therapy sessions from those with poor attendance. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: In this study, we identified components of outpatient satisfaction in physical therapy and used them to develop a test that would yield valid and reliable measurements of these components. (+info
Screening Mammography Program of British Columbia: pattern of use and health care system costs.
BACKGROUND: The use of mammography for screening asymptomatic women has increased dramatically in the past decade. This report describes the changes that have occurred in the use of bilateral mammography in British Columbia since the provincial breast cancer screening program began in 1988. METHODS: Using province-wide databases from both the breast cancer screening program and the provincial health insurance plan in BC, the authors determined the number and costs of bilateral mammography services for women aged 40 years or older between Apr. 1, 1986, and Mar. 31, 1997. Unilateral mammography was excluded because it is used for investigating symptomatic disease and screening abnormalities, and for follow-up of women who have undergone mastectomy for cancer. RESULTS: As the provincial breast cancer screening program expanded from 1 site in 1988 to 23 in 1997, it provided an increasing proportion of the bilateral mammographic examinations carried out each year in BC. In fiscal year 1996/97, 65% of bilateral mammographic examinations were performed through the screening program. The cost per examination within the screening program dropped as volume increased. Thirty percent more bilateral mammography examinations were done in 1996/97 than in 1991/92, but health care system expenditures for these services increased by only 4% during the same period. In calendar year 1996, 21% of new breast cancers were diagnosed as a result of a screening program visit. INTERPRETATION: Substantial increases in health care expenditures have been avoided by shifting bilateral mammography services to the provincial screening program, which has a lower cost per screening visit. (+info
The economic burden of asthma: direct and indirect costs in Switzerland.
Asthma mortality increased in Switzerland between 1980 and 1994. This study aimed to assess the economic burden of asthma in this country. Chart reviews were conducted for the last five patients seen for asthma in physician practices in 1996 and 1997. Direct expenditures and indirect costs for asthma-related morbidity were determined. A total of 589 patient charts were completely analysed, including 117 children's charts, obtained from 120 office-based physicians. The annual direct medical costs were CHF 1,778 and the mean annual indirect costs were CHF 1,019 per patient for all patients. The total estimated cost of asthma in Switzerland in 1997 was nearly CHF 1,252 million. Direct medical expenditures approached CHF 762 million, or 61% of the total. In 1997, the indirect costs for asthma were estimated to have exceeded CHF 490 million. Of these costs CHF 123 million (25%) was associated with morbidity and nearly CHF 368 million (75%) was associated with looking after asthmatic patients who had to be cared for at home. This study provides evidence that asthma is a major healthcare cost factor in Switzerland, amounting to approximately CHF 1,200 million per year. The data suggest that cost savings can be achieved by improving primary care for asthma in an ambulatory setting. (+info
The cost of obesity in Canada.
BACKGROUND: Almost one-third of adult Canadians are at increased risk of disability, disease and premature death because of being obese. In order to allocate limited health care resources rationally, it is necessary to elucidate the economic burden of obesity. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the direct costs related to the treatment of and research into obesity in Canada in 1997. METHODS: The prevalence of obesity (body mass index of 27 or greater) in Canada was determined using data from the National Population Health Survey, 1994-1995. Ten comorbidities of obesity were identified from the medical literature. A population attributable fraction (PAF) was calculated for each comorbidity with data from large cohort studies to determine the extent to which each comorbidity and its management costs were attributable to obesity. The direct cost of each comorbidity was determined using data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information (for direct expenditure categories) and from Health Canada (for the proportion of expenditure category attributable to the comorbidity). This prevalence-based approach identified the direct costs of hospital care, physician services, services of other health professionals, drugs, other health care and health research. For each comorbidity, the cost attributable to obesity was determined by multiplying the PAF by the total direct cost of the comorbidity. The overall impact of obesity was estimated as the sum of the PAF-weighted costs of treating the comorbidities. A sensitivity analysis was completed on both the estimated costs and the PAFs. RESULTS: The total direct cost of obesity in Canada in 1997 was estimated to be over $1.8 billion. This corresponded to 2.4% of the total health care expenditures for all diseases in Canada in 1997. The sensitivity analysis revealed that the total cost could be as high as $3.5 billion or as low as $829.4 million; this corresponded to 4.6% and 1.1% respectively of the total health care expenditures in 1997. When the contributions of the comorbidities to the total cost were considered, the 3 largest contributors were hypertension ($656.6 million), type 2 diabetes mellitus ($423.2 million) and coronary artery disease ($346.0 million). INTERPRETATION: A considerable proportion of health care dollars is devoted to the treatment and management of obesity-related comorbidities in Canada. Further research into the therapeutic benefits and cost-effectiveness of management strategies for obesity is required. It is anticipated that the prevention and treatment of obesity will have major positive effects on the overall cost of health care. (+info
The economic impact of Staphylococcus aureus infection in New York City hospitals.
We modeled estimates of the incidence, deaths, and direct medical costs of Staphylococcus aureus infections in hospitalized patients in the New York City metropolitan area in 1995 by using hospital discharge data collected by the New York State Department of Health and standard sources for the costs of health care. We also examined the relative impact of methicillin-resistant versus -sensitive strains of S. aureus and of community-acquired versus nosocomial infections. S. aureus-associated hospitalizations resulted in approximately twice the length of stay, deaths, and medical costs of typical hospitalizations; methicillin-resistant and -sensitive infections had similar direct medical costs, but resistant infections caused more deaths (21% versus 8%). Community-acquired and nosocomial infections had similar death rates, but community-acquired infections appeared to have increased direct medical costs per patient ($35,300 versus $28,800). The results of our study indicate that reducing the incidence of methicillin-resistant and -sensitive nosocomial infections would reduce the societal costs of S. aureus infection. (+info
Mixed signals: public policy and the future of health care R&D.
The incentives facing health care research and development (R&D) are influenced by the ambiguous signals sent by private and public insurance decisions affecting the use of, and payments for, existing technologies. Increasingly, that uncertainty is exacerbated by confusion over technologies' impact on health care costs, how costs are to be measured, and the social difficulty of determining medical "need" for purposes of insurance coverage. R&D executives appear to believe that "major" advances are more likely to win such coverage and thus to be profitable. The products that result, therefore, may make the current policy dilemma of cost containment versus service restriction more acute rather than less so. If the aim of policy is to cut costs, innovative remedies are necessary. (+info
Use of resources and costs of palliative care with parenteral fluids and analgesics in the home setting for patients with end-stage cancer.
BACKGROUND: In 1992 a home care technology project was started in which infusion therapy in the home setting was made available for patients with end-stage cancer. Beside aspects of feasibility and quality of life the resource utilization and costs of this transition was studied. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a cost evaluation study, to determine the actual cost of managing patients with endstage cancer who require parenteral administration of fluid or analgesics in the home setting. A total of 128 patients were prospectively followed, with a detailed analysis of some aspects in a sample of 24 patients. RESULTS: The cost for each patient was found to be between $250.00 and $300.00 per day, half of which are for hospital charges, even with this active home care technology program. One-third of the costs can be attributed to primary health care activities, in particular those of the district nurses. A hypothetical control group (n = 25) was constructed based on current practice and chart review. Patients in this group would have cost around $750.00 per day. With a median treatment period of 16 days this means a saving of $8000.00 per patient. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that significant savings can be obtained by implementing programs transferring palliative care technology to the home setting. (+info
Breast cancer screening by mammography in Norway. Is it cost-effective?
BACKGROUND: Mammography screening is a promising method for improving prognosis in breast cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this economic analysis, data from the Norwegian Mammography Project (NMP), the National Health Administration (NMA) and the Norwegian Medical Association (NMA) were employed in a model for cost-effectiveness analysis. According to the annual report of the NMP for 1996, 60,147 women aged 50-69 years had been invited to a two-yearly mammographic screening programme 46,329 (77%) had been screened and 337 (0.7%) breast cancers had been revealed. The use of breast conserving surgery (BCS) was in this study estimated raised by 17% due to screening, the breast cancer mortality decreased by 30% and the number of life years saved per prevented breast cancer death was calculated 15 years. RESULTS: The cost per woman screened was calculated 75.4 Pounds, the cost per cancer detected 10.365 Pounds and the cost per life year (LY) saved 8.561 Pounds. A raised frequency of BCS, diagnosis and adjuvant chemotherapy brought two years forward, follow-up costs and costs/savings due to prevented breast cancer deaths were all included in the analysis. A sensitivity analysis documented mammography screening cost-effective in Norway when four to nine years are gained per prevented breast cancer death. CONCLUSION: Mammography screening in Norway looks cost-effective. Time has come to encourage national screening programmes. (+info