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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


SICRAS MAINAR, Antoni et al. Patterns of health services use and costs in patients with mental disorders in primary care. Gac Sanit [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.4, pp.306-313. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To determine the pattern of services use and costs of patients requiring care for mental disorders (MD) in primary care in the context of routine clinical practice. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients older than 15 consulting primary care at least once for MD, attended by 5 primary care teams in 2004. A comparative group was formed with the remaining outpatients without MD. The main measurements were age, gender, case-mix/comorbidity and health resource utilization and corresponding outpatient costs (drugs, diagnostic tests and visits). Multiple logistic regression analysis and ANCOVA models were applied. Results: A total of 64,072 patients were assessed, of which 11,128 had some type of MD (17.4%; 95% CI, 16.7-18.1). Patients consulting for MD had a greater number of health problems (6.7 vs. 4.7; p < 0.0001) and higher resource consumption, mainly all-type medical visits/patient/year (10.7 vs. 7.2; p < 0.0001). The mean annual cost per patient was higher for patients with MD (851.5 vs. 519.2 euros; p < 0.0001), and this difference remained significant after adjusting by age, sex and comorbidities, with a differential cost of euros 72.7 (95% CI, 59.2-85.9). All components of outpatient management costs were significantly higher in the MD group. Conclusions: Outpatients seeking care for some type of MD had a high number of comorbidities and showed greater annual cost per patient in the primary care setting.

Keywords : Mental disorders; Health care resource utilization; Costs study; Primary health care.

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