Trends in healthcare utilization among older Americans with colorectal cancer: A retrospective database analysis
1 Boston Health Economics, Inc, Waltham, MA, USA
2 GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI USA
3 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada
BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:227 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-227Published: 10 December 2009
Analyses of utilization trends (cost drivers) allow us to understand changes in colorectal cancer (CRC) costs over time, better predict future costs, identify changes in the use of specific types of care (eg, hospice), and provide inputs for cost-effectiveness models. This retrospective cohort study evaluated healthcare resource use among US Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with CRC between 1992 and 2002.
Cohorts included patients aged 66+ newly diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon (n = 52,371) or rectum (n = 18,619) between 1992 and 2002 and matched patients from the general Medicare population, followed until death or December 31, 2005. Demographic and clinical characteristics were evaluated by cancer subsite. Resource use, including the percentage that used each type of resource, number of hospitalizations, and number of hospital and skilled nursing facility days, was evaluated by stage and subsite. The number of office, outpatient, and inpatient visits per person-year was calculated for each cohort, and was described by year of service, subsite, and treatment phase. Hospice use rates in the last year of life were calculated by year of service, stage, and subsite for CRC patients who died of CRC.
CRC patients (mean age: 77.3 years; 44.9% male) used more resources than controls in every category (P < .001), with the largest differences seen in hospital days and home health use. Most resource use (except hospice) remained relatively steady over time. The initial phase was the most resource intense in terms of office and outpatient visits. Hospice use among patients who died of CRC increased from 20.0% in 1992 to 70.5% in 2004, and age-related differences appear to have evened out in later years.
Use of hospice care among CRC decedents increased substantially over the study period, while other resource use remained generally steady. Our findings may be useful for understanding CRC cost drivers, tracking trends, and forecasting resource needs for CRC patients in the future.