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Registry-based trials have emerged as a potentially cost-saving study methodology. Early estimates of cost savings, however, conflated the benefits associated with registry utilisation and those associated with other aspects of pragmatic trial designs, which might not all be as broadly applicable. In this study, we sought to build a practical tool that investigators could use across disciplines to estimate the ranges of potential cost differences associated with implementing registry-based trials versus standard clinical trials.
We built simulation Markov models to compare unique costs associated with data acquisition, cleaning, and linkage under a registry-based trial design versus a standard clinical trial. We conducted one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, varying study characteristics over broad ranges, to determine thresholds at which investigators might optimally select each trial design.
Registry-based trials were more cost effective than standard clinical trials 98.6% of the time. Data-related cost savings ranged from $4300 to $600,000 with variation in study characteristics. Cost differences were most reactive to the number of patients in a study, the number of data elements per patient available in a registry, and the speed with which research coordinators could manually abstract data. Registry incorporation resulted in cost savings when as few as 3768 independent data elements were available and when manual data abstraction took as little as 3.4 seconds per data field.
Registries offer important resources for investigators. When available, their broad incorporation may help the scientific community reduce the costs of clinical investigation. We offer here a practical tool for investigators to assess potential costs savings.
Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) require lifelong cardiology follow-up. Many experience gaps in care around the age of transition to adult-oriented care with associated comorbidity. We describe the impact of a clinic-based intervention on follow-up rates in this high-risk population.
Patients ≥11 years seen in a paediatric outpatient CHD Transition Clinic completed self-assessment questionnaires, underwent focused teaching, and were followed on a clinic registry with assessment of care continuation. The cohort “lost to follow-up” rate, defined as absence from care at least 6 months beyond the recommended timeframe, was compared with a control group. Secondary outcomes included questionnaire scores and adult cardiology referral trends.
Over 26 months, 53 participants completed an initial Transition Clinic visit; 43% (23/53) underwent a second visit. Median participant age was 18.0 years (interquartile range 16.0, 22.0). The cohort’s “lost to follow-up” rate was 7.3%, which was significantly lower than the control rate (25.9%, p < 0.01). Multivariable regression analyses demonstrated clinic participation as the only factor independently associated with follow-up rates (p = 0.048). Transition readiness was associated with older age (p = 0.01) but not sex, univentricular heart, interventional history, or surgical complexity. One-third of adult participants transferred to adult care.
A CHD Transition Clinic intervention can improve follow-up rates in adolescents and young adults. Age is an important factor in transition readiness, and retention of adults in paediatric care appears multi-factorial. We postulate that serial assessments of self-management, focused education, and registry utilisation may improve patient outcomes by reducing lapses in care.
Families of children born with CHD face added stress owing to uncertainty about the magnitude of the financial burden for medical costs they will face. This study seeks to assess the family responsibility for healthcare bills during the first 12 months of life for commercially insured children undergoing surgery for severe CHD.
The MarketScan® database from Truven was used to identify commercially insured infants in 39 states from 2010 to 2012 with an ICD-9 diagnosis code for transposition of the great arteries, tetralogy of Fallot, or truncus arteriosus, as well as the corresponding procedure code for complete repair. Data extraction identified payment responsibilities of the patients’ families in the form of co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance during the 1st year of life.
There were 481 infants identified who met the criteria. Average family responsibility for healthcare bills during the 1st year of life was $2928, with no difference between the three groups. The range of out-of-pocket costs was $50–$18,167. Initial hospitalisation and outpatient care accounted for the majority of these responsibilities.
Families of commercially insured children with severe CHD requiring corrective surgery face an average of ~$3000 in out-of-pocket costs for healthcare bills during the first 12 months of their child’s life, although the amount varied considerably. This information provides a framework to alleviate some of the uncertainty surrounding healthcare financial responsibilities, and further examination of the origination of these expenditures may be useful in informing future healthcare policy discussion.
Patients undergoing the Norwood operation consume considerable healthcare resources; however, detailed information regarding factors impacting hospitalisation costs is lacking. We evaluated the association of postoperative complications with hospital costs.
In the present study, we utilised a unique data set consisting of prospectively collected clinical data from the Pediatric Heart Network Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial linked at the patient level with cost data for 10 hospitals participating in the Children’s Hospital Association Case Mix database during the trial period. The relationship between complications and cost was modelled using linear regression, accounting for the skewed distribution of cost, adjusting for within-centre clustering and baseline patient characteristics.
A total of 334 eligible Norwood records (97.5%) were matched between data sets. Overall, 82% suffered from at least one complication (median 2; with a range from 0 to 33). Those with complications had longer postoperative length of stay (25 versus 12 days, p<0.001), more total ventilator days (7 versus 5 days, p<0.001), and higher in-hospital mortality (17.6 versus 3.4%, p<0.006). Mean adjusted hospital cost in those with a complication was $190,689 (95% CI $111,344–$326,577) versus $120,584 (95% CI $69,246–$209,983) in those without complications (p=0.002). Costs increased with the number of complications (1–2 complications=$132,800 versus 3–4 complications=$182,353 versus ⩾5 complications=$309,372 [p<0.001]).
This merged data set of clinical trial and cost data demonstrated that postoperative complications are common following the Norwood operation and are associated with worse clinical outcomes and higher costs. Efforts to reduce complications in this population may lead to improved outcomes and cost savings.
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