The aim of this study was to analyse the additional treatment costs of acute patients admitted to a Danish hospital who suffered an adverse event (AE) during in-hospital treatment.
A matched case-control design was utilised. Using a combination of trigger words and patient record reviews 91 patients exposed to AEs were identified. Controls were identified among patients admitted to the same department during the same 20-month period. The matching was based on age, gender, and main diagnosis. Cost data was extracted from the Danish National Cost Database for four different periods after beginning of the admission.
Patients exposed to an AE were associated with higher mean cost of EUR 9505 during their index admission (p = 0.014). For the period of 6 months from the beginning of the admission minus the admission itself they were associated with higher mean cost of EUR 4968 (p = 0.016). For the period from the 7th month until the end of the 12th month there was no statistically significant difference (p = 0.104). For the total period of 12 month, patients exposed to an AE were associated with statistically significant higher mean cost of EUR 13,930 (p = 0.001).
AEs are associated with significant hospital costs. Our findings suggest that a follow-up period of 6 months is necessary when investigating the costs associated with AEs among acute patients. Further research of specific types of AEs and the costs of preventing these types of AEs would improve the understanding of the relationship between adverse events and costs.