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Cantor SB , Levy LB , Cardenas-Turanzas M , Basen-Engquist K , Le T , Beck JR , Follen M
Collecting direct non-health care and time cost data: Application to screening and diagnosis of cervical cancer
MEDICAL DECISION MAKING. 2006 May-Jun;26(3) :265-272
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Background. Data on direct non-health care and time costs are rarely collected, though the incorporation of such data is essential for performing cost-effectiveness analyses according to established guidelines. Objectives. To explore the challenges involved in collecting and analyzing these data from patients enrolled in a clinical trial. Methods. Through the use of a pilot study, the authors designed a questionnaire to collect these costs. They used this questionnaire in a clinical trial conducted at a coinprehensive cancer center and a public community Unity hospital. Patients in the trial were undergoing screening or diagnostic procedures through a clinical protocol designed to measure the effectiveness of fluorescence and reflectance spectroscopy for detecting cervical precancers. Direct non-health care costs were adjusted to 2003 constant dollars. Results. The authors successfully collected direct non-health core and time cost data, thus demonstrating the feasibility of! acquiring such data. Compared to patients receiving diagnostic services for cervical cancer, for those receiving no screening services for the same condition in both settings incurred lower direct non-health core costs and time costs, as defined in the questionnaire. Compared to patients receiving either service at the comprehensive cancer center, those seeking either service (it the public community hospital incurred lower direct non-health core costs and time costs. When outliers were removed, total direct non-health care costs (and time costs substantially decreased for diagnostic patients in the comprehensive cancer center; total direct non-health core costs and time costs for other subgroups remained essentially unchanged. Conclusions. Direct non-health core and time cost data can be collected within a large-scale clinical trial. The setting (community specialty hospital) and population (patients receiving screening v. diagnostic examination) makes a difference regard! ing the cost totals. The order of magnitude of the final resul! t depend s on the context in which the non-health core and time cost data will be used.