The Women’s Initiative for Nonsmoking (WINS), a randomized clinical trial of a smoking cessation intervention for women with cardiovascular disease, permitted an assessment of the types and costs of health services women used during the 30 months after their hospitalization with cardiovascular disease.METHODS:
A prospective design nested within WINS was used for this study. A structured telephone interview guide included questions about medical services and 15 categories of prevention services, including cardiac rehabilitation at 6, 12, 24, and 30 months. Costs were estimated from state and national databases.RESULTS:
The 277 women studied had a mean age of 60.7 ± 10 years. They had smoked approximately 40 ± 11.4 years. More than 50% of the women had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease. During the first 6 months after the index hospitalization, 94% had a physician visit, 39% had an emergency-room visit, and 36% had a hospital admission. Prevention services used were home healthcare by nurse or home health aide (26%), a cardiac rehabilitation program, including Multifit and Heart Smart (19%), and physical therapy (14%). Usage decreased over the 30 months. For the women who used any service, the mean total monthly cost per woman was $913 ± $1204.CONCLUSIONS:
This is the first report on health service use by women smokers with cardiovascular disease. Data collection using a telephone interview guide proved feasible for evaluating health service use. The greatest costs resulted from hospital admissions and physician and emergency-room visits. Considering the high prevalence of risk factors in this cohort, secondary prevention services were severely underutilized. By increasing referrals to such services, physicians and nurses might influence women to reduce their risk for subsequent cardiovascular disease.