Dr Thu-Ha Nguyen and colleagues from Canada analyzed the health services costs for persons who have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, from the time of diagnosis.
The team based data on 1230 persons diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1998 in the Capital Health region of Alberta.
|Total costs per person increased to $3514 in the first post-diagnosis year|
|Journal of Viral Hepatitis|
Identifiers and dates of diagnosis were sent to Alberta Health and Wellness where records were linked to those of physician visits and billings, as well as hospital visit records.
Costs were assigned to all visits, and data were analyzed for 1 pre- and 2 post-diagnosis years.
The researchers found that the total cost per person increased from $2630 to $3514 between the pre- and first post-diagnosis year.
The team noted that the total cost per person then returned to $2694 in the second post-diagnosis year.
Liver-related costs were a low portion of the total in all periods, however, they increased following diagnosis.
The team found that mental-health related costs were the largest component.
Observational data present a more balanced picture of the costs of persons with Hepatitis C, but most current estimates are not based on such data.
Dr Nguyen's team concluded, "Our results indicate that, when analysed within the picture of the entire person, liver-related costs are the tip of the iceberg."