The burden of asthma is sufficient to warrant its recognition as a high-priority disorder in governmental health strategies in many countries. However, the components of the total health care costs for patients with asthma have not been well studied, and an overall understanding of health care utilization patterns in this population is lacking in Taiwan. We evaluated 95,110 patients aged 18–55 years who were enrolled in the National Health Insurance Research Database from January 1 to December 31, 2002. Health care utilization and costs, including those related to office, outpatient hospital, emergency department, and inpatient hospital visits were compared between patients with and patients without asthma. In 2002, the period prevalence of treated asthma was 1.8%. Patients with asthma used substantially more services than did those without asthma in all categories. The mean costs of hospitalizations for patients with asthma were 2.7-fold higher than those of patients without asthma. Asthma care represented 26% of all health-care services that patients with asthma received, while the remaining 74% were for nonasthma care. Almost one-half of all asthma-related costs were attributable to hospitalizations. These findings may serve as baseline data for future evaluations of changes in health care utilization and expenditures among asthmatic patients.
Department of Allergy, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan 2:
Institute of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
Publication date: March 1, 2008
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