Skip to main content

01.12.2012 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2012

Cost-effectiveness of a health-social partnership transitional program for post-discharge medical patients

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2012
Frances Kam Yuet Wong, June Chau, Ching So, Stanley Ku Fu Tam, Sarah McGhee
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1472-6963-12-479) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Frances Kam Yuet Wong, June Chau, Ching So, Stanley Ku Fu Tam and Sarah McGhee contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

FKYW designed, implemented the study and drafted the manuscript, JC, CS and SM performed the statistical analysis, drafted the results part of the manuscript, SKFT participated in the design and implementation of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Readmissions are costly and have implications for quality of care. Studies have been reported to support effects of transitional care programs in reducing hospital readmissions and enhancing clinical outcomes. However, there is a paucity of studies executing full economic evaluation to assess the cost-effectiveness of these transitional care programs. This study is therefore launched to fill this knowledge gap.


Cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted alongside a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of a Health-Social Transitional Care Management Program (HSTCMP) for medical patients discharged from an acute regional hospital in Hong Kong. The cost and health outcomes were compared between the patients receiving the HSTCMP and usual care. The total costs comprised the pre-program, program, and healthcare utilization costs. Quality of life was measured with SF-36 and transformed to utility values between 0 and 1.


The readmission rates within 28 (control 10.2%, study 4.0%) and 84 days (control 19.4%, study 8.1%) were significantly higher in the control group. Utility values showed no difference between the control and study groups at baseline (p = 0.308). Utility values for the study group were significantly higher than in the control group at 28 (p < 0.001) and 84 days (p = 0.002). The study group also had a significantly higher QALYs gain (p < 0.001) over time at 28 and 84 days when compared with the control group. The intervention had an 89% chance of being cost-effective at the threshold of £20000/QALY.


Previous studies on transitional care focused mainly on clinical outcomes and not too many included cost as an outcome measure. Studies examining the cost-effectiveness of the post-discharge support services are scanty. This study is the first to examine the cost-effectiveness of a transitional care program that used nurse-led services participated by volunteers. Results have shown that a health-social partnership transitional care program is cost-effective in reducing healthcare costs and attaining QALY gains. Economic evaluation helps to inform funders and guide decisions for the effective use of competing healthcare resources.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2012

BMC Health Services Research 1/2012 Zur Ausgabe