How costs for 7 chronic conditions changed in 20 years

From 1995 to 2015, the change in inflation-adjusted dollars spent on treating six of the top seven patient conditions associated with the highest mortality and morbidity rates in the U.S. likely was cost-effective and created value, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

Five things to know:

1. For the study, researchers with RTI Health Solutions in Durham, N.C., and the National Pharmaceutical Council examined whether medical intervention spending on seven chronic conditions during the past two decades has been a good investment. The study authors analyzed national-level data from the CDC, the Global Burden of Disease Study and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

2. Researchers found after accounting for the prevalence of each disease and controlling for inflation, reductions in total costs per person from 1996 to 2015 were seen in four conditions: lung cancer ($10,938.37), ischemic heart disease ($5,036.89), cerebrovascular disease ($1,218.75), and HIV/AIDS ($587.34).

3. Three conditions saw moderate increases in per person costs: breast cancer ($402.01), COPD ($560.24), and diabetes ($799.98).

4.  Lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and HIV/AIDS all saw cost savings and improved health during the time period. Breast cancer and diabetes saw slight cost increases but improved health, while COPD saw cost increases and slight worsening of health.

5. "The study had two key findings: First, for some conditions, dollars spent on medical care can be a source of high value creation, and such investment should continue," the authors wrote. "Second, there is significant variability in value across diseases, which highlights the need for disease-specific spending approaches."

To access the full study, click here.

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