Multimorbidity status and annual healthcare expenditures of rheumatoid arthritis patients: a Dutch hospital-centered versus population-based comparison

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The prevalence of multimorbidity among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients is increasing and associated with worse outcomes. Therefore, management of multimorbid patients requires a multidisciplinary approach. However, healthcare systems consist of mono-disciplinary subsystems, which limits collaboration across subsystems. To study the importance of a multidisciplinary, integrated approach, associations between expenditures and multimorbidity are assessed in real-life data. Retrospective data on RA patients from a Dutch single-hospital are analyzed and compared to the Dutch RA population data. The Elixhauser index is used to measure the multimorbidity prevalence. Regression analyses were conducted to derive the relationship between multimorbidity, healthcare costs and self-reported quality of life (e.g. EQ-5D). When analyzing the impact of multimorbidity within RA patients in context of a single-hospital context, multimorbidity is only partially captured: 13% prevalence versus 24% of the Dutch population. Multimorbidity is associated with higher care expenditures. Depending on the type of multimorbidity, expenditures are €43-€5821 higher in a single-hospital and from €2259-€9648 in population data. Finally, medication use associated with chronic diseases and self-reported aspects of well-being are associated with similar increases in healthcare expenditures as multimorbidity based on hospital care. Within RA, a single-hospital approach underestimates the association between multimorbidity and healthcare expenditures as 43% of healthcare utilization and expenditures are missed. To overcome a single-provider perspective in healthcare and efficiently coordinate multimorbid patients, besides providing holistic care, professionals also need to use data providing comprehensive pictures of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1076
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number6
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Results based on calculations by Erasmus University using non-public microdata from Statistics Netherlands. We thank the Community Health Services, Statistics Netherlands & National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for access to survey data from the 2016 Public Health Monitor (Gezondheidsmonitor 2016). The authors thank Hedwig Blommestein for comments on an early version of the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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