[Comparative study of health care costs for patients using home oxygen therapy or those in waiting lists]

C Maquilón, H Chiong, S Bello, C Naranjo, P Lira, M Díaz
Revista Médica de Chile 2001, 129 (12): 1395-403

BACKGROUND: Home oxygen therapy is the only intervention that significantly prolongs survival of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Since this therapy is expensive, it is imperative to calculate its cost-benefit ratio.

AIM: To compare health care costs for patients in a home oxygen therapy program, with those of a similar group of patients in a waiting list for this therapy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 21 patients on home oxygen therapy for 36 months or less and a group of 13 patients in the waiting list during a similar lapse. Medical consultations, drugs delivered and the cost of oxygen therapy were considered among ambulatory costs. Hospitalization costs included the number of days on regular or intermediary care beds, laboratory tests and drugs delivered.

RESULTS: The annual health care costs for patients on home oxygen therapy were 709,656 Chilean pesos and the costs for patients in the waiting list were 797,320 Chilean pesos.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall health care costs of home oxygen therapy are similar to the cost required by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease remaining in waiting lists.

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