Patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (NCFBE) are subjected to higher healthcare costs after being diagnosed with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, a new study shows. The study recommends that future research should explore methods of earlier identification of P. aeruginosa in order to bring those costs down.
The study titled, “Healthcare Cost and Utilization before and after Diagnosis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa among Patients with Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis in the U.S.,” was published in the journal Medical Sciences.
NCFBE patients place a significant burden on the U.S. healthcare system, with an estimated average cost to a U.S. health plan of $4,862–$6,593 per patient, per year.
NCFBE is often characterized by recurrent infections, usually by the bacterial species P. aeruginosa. The prevalence of P. aeruginosa in this patient population is as high as 15-58%.
Patients with NCFBE and infected by P. aeruginosa tend to experience more frequent exacerbations and increased disease progression than patients without the infection. However, no studies to date have evaluated the impact of a P. aeruginosa infection in patients with NCFBE on healthcare utilization and costs.
Thus, researchers set out to determine the healthcare costs and utilization of services in the United States by NCFBE patients before and after a diagnosis of P. aeruginosa infection.
Researchers used data from the PharMetrics Plus administrative claims database from 2007 to 2013. This database provides data of adjudicated medical and pharmacy claims of more than 100 million persons from more than 250 health plans across the U.S.
Patients who had two or more claims for bronchiectasis and more than one claim for P. aeruginosa infection were included in the analysis. Patients with cystic fibrosis were excluded.
Results showed that the mean total healthcare cost per patient was $36,213 before a P. aeruginosa diagnosis and $67,764 after a P. aeruginosa diagnosis, an increase of 87%.
When looking at the individual costs after diagnosis, inpatient care costs represented the highest proportion of the total healthcare costs, at 54%. Furthermore, an average increase of four hospitalizations per patient was seen, indicating that patients also had significantly more healthcare utilization.
Therefore, researchers concluded that “NCFBE patients with evidence of P. aeruginosa incur substantially greater healthcare costs and utilization after P. aeruginosa diagnosis.”
The team emphasized that future studies should focus on identifying NCFBE patients with P. aeruginosa infection earlier, in order to reduce hospitalization and healthcare costs.