Determining an episode of care using claims data. Diabetic foot ulcer.
OBJECTIVE: Amid changes in the organization and financing of health care, health care decision makers are increasingly interested in episodes of care. We sought to determine an episode of care for diabetic foot ulcer using an administrative claims database. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We used 1993-1995 claims data to assess resource utilization for privately insured patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Over a 26-week period, we determined the episode length by comparing differences in average daily charges and proportion of patients with charges before and after foot ulcer diagnosis. All 13 weeks before diagnosis were used to calculate baseline values. Significance was determined by CIs, which were calculated by a nonparametric bootstrap technique. Costs associated with the episode were also calculated. A sensitivity analysis using weeks with highest and lowest values as baseline was also conducted. RESULTS: Based on average daily charges, the episode of care for diabetic foot ulcer was 5 weeks. Using proportion of patients with charges, the episode was longer than 13 weeks. The cost for an episode of care ranged from $900 to $2,600. In the sensitivity analyses, episodes of care ranged from 1 to 13 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Episodes of care can be defined by the period beginning with increased resource consumption and ending when resource consumption returns to baseline levels. With the growth of managed care and disease management programs, episode-of-care analysis may have an increasingly important role in health care provision and delivery.
Mehta, SS; Suzuki, S; Glick, HA; Schulman, KA
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