Background: In Ireland, over 20,000 people are affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The licenced biologic therapies to treat moderate to severe IBD are reported to have similar effectiveness levels but differ in their methods of delivery. Certain therapies are administered by intravenous (IV) infusion in the hospital setting, others are delivered by subcutaneous injection in the community.
Aim: To determine the non-drug costs involved in administering an IV biologic infusion in the hospital setting.
Methods: This time-and-motion study was conducted at an Infusion Day Unit (IDU) in an Irish teaching hospital. The sequence and duration of each patient's use of resources was recorded and costed. Bootstrap methods were applied to ensure that robust estimates of the accuracy of the non-parametric population statistics were reliably estimated.
Results: The mean time the patient spent at the IDU was 143.78 mins with a mean treatment time of 129.81 min. The main driver of patient time was the drug infusion time (39%), followed by the monitoring period (25%). The mean cost was €224.54 per treatment. Nurse time was the main expenditure driver (37%), followed by laboratory costs (27%) and other healthcare professional's costs (14%).
Conclusions: The study confirms that the non-drug costs associated with the delivery of an IV biologic in the hospital setting are non-trivial. Given the current budgetary climate of health systems, the compounding prevalence of IBD and the expected increase in patient numbers, it is imperative that physicians also consider the opportunity costs associated with the method of treatment delivery.