Costs of burn care: A systematic review

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Abstract

Burn care is traditionally considered expensive care. However, detailed information about the costs of burn care is scarce despite the increased need for this information and the enhanced focus on healthcare cost control. In this study, economic literature on burn care was systematically reviewed to examine the problem of burn-related costs. Cost or economic evaluation studies on burn care that had been published in international peer-reviewed journals from 1950 to 2012 were identified. The methodology of these articles was critically appraised by two reviewers, and cost results were extracted. A total of 156 studies met the inclusion criteria. Nearly all of the studies were cost studies (n = 153) with a healthcare perspective (n = 139) from high-income countries (n = 127). Hospital charges were often used as a proxy for costs (n = 44). Three studies were cost-effectiveness analyses. The mean total healthcare cost per burn patient in high-income countries was $88,218 (range $704–$717,306; median $44,024). A wide variety of methodological approaches and cost prices was found. We recommend that cost studies and economic evaluations employ a standard approach to improve the quality and harmonization of economic evaluation studies, optimize comparability, and improve insight into burn care costs and efficiency.

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