Routine outcome monitoring in clinical practice: service and non-service costs of psychiatric patients attending a Community Mental Health Centre in Italy

Mauro Percudani, Corrado Barbui, Jennifer Beecham, Martin Knapp (2004)

European Psychiatry 19 8 469-477

Available online: 23 September 2004

Objective. This study estimated service and non-service costs in a random sample of patients attending a community psychiatric mental health centre in Italy. Methods. A randomly selected sample of patients identified during 1 week of routine clinical activity was enrolled. Information was collected using the Italian-language checklist Questionario Economico per l?attivit… clinica dei Servizi Psichiatrici (QESP). Costs were classified in two categories: service costs (from the provision of services) and non-service costs (loss of productivity and informal care). Results. One hundred and twenty patients were included. Patients suffering from schizophrenia and related disorders (n = 50) had a mean age of 44.5 years (S.D. 12.9), and patients with other diagnoses (n = 70) had a mean age of 44.9 years (S.D. 14.8). More patients in the schizophrenia group were single, living alone, had a low educational level and a higher unemployment rate. In patients suffering from schizophrenia, the monthly service cost per patient was nearly double that for patients with other diagnoses. Non-service costs associated with patients? Lack of job opportunities were more than three times higher for patients with schizophrenia. Non-service costs associated with patients? And care-givers? Time off work were similar in the two groups. In the multivariate analysis, being unemployed was associated with higher service costs.Younger age, length of illness and diagnosis of schizophrenia were determinants of higher non-service costs. The latter three independent variables were also associated with overall (service and non-service) costs. Conclusion. The present study estimated service and non-service costs under routine circumstances to provide information on costs that community psychiatric services, patients and care-givers sustain when dealing with psychiatric problems.