Psoriasis Causes Economic Burden in Patients: Time & Travel Costs

psoriasisMuch has been studied about how psoriasis results in increased expenses to patients from many cost sources, such as visit charges and other patient copayments. However, psoriasis treatments also results in travel costs and lost time, according to a recent study in Dermatology and Therapy.

For the study, the researchers set out to evaluate the multidimensional economic burden of psoriasis to patients. The study was based on 232 Finnish patients with psoriasis (n=199) or psoriatic arthritis (n=33) visiting a tertiary level dermatological clinic during a 1-year study period between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010.

The data were based on a patient questionnaire, clinical data from the medical records and reimbursement data from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution. Item costs were based on true costs charged from the patients and all time cost estimates were based on the Human Capital Approach method.

Results showed that total costs were higher for patients receiving traditional systemic medications or phototherapy than those not receiving such treatments.

Travel costs and travel time costs accounted for more than 60% of the costs of phototherapy. Skincare at home was time consuming and thus caused significant burden to patients. The majority of the visit costs arose from hospital visits and only a small proportion were attributed to visiting primary healthcare providers.

Overall, visit charges and other patient copayments were estimated to play a minor role in the total cost of psoriasis incurred by patients, while travel costs and lost time comprised the majority of the costs, which should not be omitted in future studies regarding costs of treatments, concluded researchers.

Mustonen A, Mattila K, Leino M, Koulu L, Tuominen R. Psoriasis causes significant economic burden to patients. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2014;4(1):115-124.