OBJECTIVE: In the absence of a clear health care model for the management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic respiratory insufficiency, we evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of a specialized outpatient unit for these patients managed by the hospital's respiratory medicine department. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a 1-year prospective study of a group of patients for whom historical control data were available. The mean (SD) descriptive data for the 124 patients (105 men) were as follows: age, 69 (7) years; forced vital capacity, 64.6% (16.1%); forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), 35.6% (12.8%); PaO2, 56.6 (8.3) mm Hg; PaCO2, 49.8 (6.7) mm Hg. Forced spirometry and arterial blood gas analysis were performed at 3-monthly visits. Participants completed a quality-of-life questionnaire (Guyatt's Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire) at the beginning and end of the study. The following variables were analyzed: forced spirometry, arterial blood gases, quality of life, number of emergency visits and hospital admissions, mean length of stay in hospital, reduction in the number of inpatient bed-days, mean cost of emergency visits, mean cost of hospital stays for both the Catalan Health Service (CHS) and the hospital, mean total cost per patient for the CHS and the hospital, and aggregate cost for the CHS and the hospital. The results were compared with data for the preceding year taken from the hospital records. RESULTS: Significant improvement was found in forced vital capacity and PaO2 (which went from 56.6 [8.2] mm Hg to 59.1 [8.9] mm Hg during the prospective part of the study); FEV1 also tended to improve (875  mL as against 912  mL), but this change was not significant (P=.17). A significant reduction was observed in the following variables: PaCO2; hospital admissions, 1.16 (1.15) in the historical control period compared to 0.67 (1.17) during the prospective study; emergency visits, 2.06 (1.9) as against 1.5 (2.1); mean length of stay in hospital, 14.2 (19) compared to 8.1 (16) days; total number of inpatient bed-days (756 inpatient bed-days were saved in the study period); mean cost of emergency visits and hospital stays for both the hospital (€2246 [€3007] in the historical period as against €1297 [€2639] with the new management system) and for the CHS; and the aggregate cost both for the hospital (€40 Oil in the historical control period as against €6048 with the new model) and the CHS (€238 513 as against €152 312). The quality-of-life score improved, but the change was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: The change in the health care model used to manage these patients led to an improvement in care (effectiveness) as well as a marked reduction in costs (greater efficiency) for both the funding entity (CHS) and for the care provider (the hospital). No change was observed in the quality of life as reported by the patients.
|Journal||Archivos de Bronconeumologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2006|
- Cost minimization
- Specialized unit