Injuries remain one of the most serious public health problems in Canada and result in significant drain on health care system resources. Recent studies highlight the increasing costs – personal, societal and economic – associated with injuries. Cost studies provide the necessary detailed information to policy planners, community partners and governments to establish appropriate business cases for injury prevention agendas; to set targets to reduce mortality rates and disability among Canadians; to reduce associated health care costs; and to make decisions regarding resource allocation.
In British Columbia (BC), a significant number of deaths and hospitalizations result from head injuries with rates having increased over time (2001–2013). This study demonstrates the broad economic and societal burden of head injuries, using an incidence costing, human capital societal approach.
The incidence of deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for head injuries were obtained from BC Vital Statistics, Discharge Abstract Database and National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, BC Ministry of Health, respectively. The incidence of permanent disabilities was estimated using coefficients that relate these episodes and related costs to the incidence of hospitalized and emergency room visits. BC data for unemployment rate, paid employment participation rate and average earnings were obtained from Statistics Canada. Direct costs of health care; the human cost of years of life lost; and, indirect costs such as diminished labour market productivity and earnings were all calculated to obtain the total cost of head injuries.
This approach is an important component in raising awareness of the economic and societal cost of head injuries in BC, as well as the case for investment in prevention. The information is important to decision-makers who typically make strategic investments in injury prevention, and who need detailed un.