A study published within the journal BMC Primary Care reveals the economic impact of managing the long-term consequences of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) amongst non-hospitalized patients in the UK.
Study: The associated fee of primary care consultations related to long COVID in non-hospitalised adults: a retrospective cohort study using UK primary care data. Image Credit: p.sick.i / Shutterstock
Long-COVID has turn out to be a significant public health concern worldwide due to its persistent health and economic implications. In accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO), continuation of COVID-19 symptoms or development of latest symptoms three months after the acute infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is known as long-COVID.
Roughly 40 million cases of long-COVID have to this point been detected worldwide, indicating a high global prevalence. About 72% of patients with self-reported long-COVID experience difficulty of their each day life activities.
In the present study, scientists have estimated the surplus primary care costs related to long-term management of COVID-19 amongst non-hospitalized patients in the UK. Furthermore, they’ve explored the connection between various risk aspects and first care costs.
The info on non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients obtained from a big primary care UK database was analyzed within the study. Long-COVID was defined as having persistent symptoms 12 weeks after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Two groups of patients were chosen from the database. The exposed group included adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who had not been hospitalized 14 days before or 42 days after the acute infection. The unexposed group included adult individuals with none history of suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
The extra cost related to long-COVID primary care consultation was estimated each at the person level and the UK national level. Multivariable regression evaluation was conducted to estimate the association between risk aspects and first care consultation costs beyond 12 weeks from acute COVID-19.
A complete of 472,173 COVID patients and 472,173 unexposed individuals were included within the study evaluation. Amongst COVID patients, about 0.8% and 6.4% had diagnosed long-COVID and symptomatic long-COVID, respectively.
The estimation of the variety of consultations revealed a 22.7% higher consultation rate within the exposed group than within the unexposed group. Amongst patients with diagnosed long-COVID and symptomatic long-COVID, the consultation rates were 3-times and 6-times higher, respectively, in comparison with that amongst patients with previous COVID-19 but no long-COVID related symptoms.
The annual incremental cost of long-COVID primary care consultations was estimated to be £2.44 at the person level and £23,382,452 on the national level. The incremental costs within the diagnosed and symptomatic long-COVID groups were £30.52 and £57.56 per patient, respectively.
For every study group, greater than 85% of the entire costs were related to general physician (GP) consultations. The common cost per patient was higher in all COVID-19-related groups in comparison with that within the unexposed group. The very best expense was observed within the symptomatic long-COVID group across each variety of healthcare skilled.
Greater than 60% of the entire costs for every study group were related to telephonic consultations. The incremental costs related to home visits were higher within the exposed group in comparison with those within the unexposed group. Essentially the most significant contributor to the entire cost within the unexposed group was in-person consultations.
Association between risk aspects and first care consultation costs
The chance factor evaluation revealed that the first care consultation costs were 43% and 44% higher amongst patients with diagnosed long-COVID and symptomatic long-COVID, respectively, in comparison with that amongst exposed patients with out a long-COVID diagnosis or related symptoms.
Other risk aspects that increased the fee of primary care consultation were older age, female gender, obesity, comorbidities, frequency of previous consultations, and White ethnic group.
Bubble plot to point out the typical cost of every consultation type per patient (who had a consultation) between 15th April 2020 and 15th April 2021. Bar chart to point out the share makeup of every group’s total costs by consultation type
The study finds that the fee of primary care consultation related to long-COVID management is substantially high amongst non-hospitalized patients. Specifically, the prices are significantly higher amongst patients with diagnosed long-COVID or related symptoms, older patients, female patients, obese patients, and people with comorbidities.
The associated fee estimates provided by the study may very well be helpful for future cost analyses and economic evaluations on long-COVID, which is crucial for the preparedness for future pandemics.