The incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is increasing worldwide. In addition to mortality, morbidity from COPD results in substantial use of healthcare resources.
A large-scale international survey was performed to assess the use of healthcare resources and direct charges for hospitalization according to GOLD stages in Korea from 2001 though 2004.
The total of 1,624 patients registered in 8 teaching hospitals in Korea were included in this survey. This cohort comprised 242 patients of stage I, 722 of stage II, 535 of stage III, and 125 of stage IV. About three-quarters (73.8%) of the total charges were accounted for hospitalization. Analysis of this survey showed that mean annual charges for hospitalization per patient were estimated at US $ 503.3 in stage I, US $ 692.5 in stage II, US $ 868.8 in stage III, and US $ 1597.9 in stage IV, respectively. In spite of smaller number of patients, the direct charge for hospitalization per patient used for stage IV was 44.1% of total. During this period, the mean number of hospitalization in the patients with stage IV was 3.9 per person, while that in the patients with less severe stages was 2.4 per person. In contrast, the mean annual number of outpatient visit to respiratory health clinic in the patients with stage IV was significantly lower compared with that in less severe stages (13.1 versus 15.6).
Patients with higher stage COPD used more healthcare resources for hospitalization despite of a smaller number of outpatient visit.
This survey suggests that intervention aimed at prevention of acute exacerbation and delay of progression to higher stage could alleviate the medical cost due to COPD in Korea.
Myung Jae Park, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information