Background Knee osteoarthritis is a disease with significant levels of socioeconomic burden to the society(1). Physical therapy treatment is commonly preferred especially in older patients who can not use medication.
Objectives In this study, we aimed to to compare the cost-effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient physical therapy programs in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Methods The study included 52 patients with the diagnose of knee osteoarthritis. Patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 (n=30) received 21 sessions of inpatient physical therapy program including electrotherapy, superficial- deep heatt applications and basic knee exercise program. Group 2 (n=22) received the same physical therapy program at outpatient clinic. The doctors’ and patients’ global assesment and pain intensity were measured with visual analog scale (VAS), quality of life with short form 36 (SF-36), functional activity with Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and Knee Outcome Survey-Activities for Daily Living Scale (KOS -ADSL). The expenses spent were calculated as direct health, direct non-health and indirect costs. All expenditures and all measurements were assessed 5 times during the entire study: pre-treatment, just after treatment, and post-treatment follow-up first month, third months and sixth months.
Results At the end of the six-months follow-up both groups showed significant improvement in all parameters. The total cost of inpatient treatment was found higher than the outpatient treatment group (inpatient=2.754,92 TL; outpatient=1274,68 TL). The utility was slightly higher in outpatient treatment group (inpatient=1.80 outpatient=1.97) and the outpatient physical therapy was found to be more cost-effective.
Conclusions According to our results, both inpatient and outpatient physical therapy programs are effective. Outpatient physical therapy program should be preferred except for the presence of an additional disease or other conditions that require indication for hospitalization.
-Bitton R. The economic burden of osteoarthritis. Am J Manag Care. 2009; 15(8Suppl):S230-5
Disclosure of Interest None Declared