Background: Digital health technology (DHT) is capable of improving medication adherence in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. In turn, good medication adherence may potentially decrease patient health care costs. While DHT is utilized, there is a need to better understand the impact it can have on health care costs.
Methods: The objective of this study is to assess the cost of care in CF patients with the implementation of the Pharmacy Extension Solution (PES). PES, a mobile application with smart buttons, was used by adult CF patients for 6 months. Patients’ health care costs were indirectly measured by assessing healthcare resource utilization (HRU) with and without use of PES. HRU included the number of hospitalizations, duration of hospitalizations, number of outpatient visits, and number of emergency department visits.
Results: A total of 32 cystic fibrosis patients were enrolled. There was no change or slight increase in the 4 healthcare resource utilization categories on average per patient – number of hospitalizations: baseline 1.09, 3 months 1.11, 6 months 1.22; duration of hospitalizations: baseline 11.36 days, 3 months 12.22 days, 6 months 13.22 days; number of outpatient visits: baseline 2.07, 3 months 2.26, 6 months 3.61; number of emergency department visits: baseline 1, at 3 months 0, at 6 months 1.
Conclusion: This study showed the use of DHT in cystic fibrosis patients is associated with an increase in HRU; and therefore an increase in healthcare costs. Additional studies are needed to fully understand the impact DHT has on healthcare costs.
Keywords: cystic fibrosis; mobile application; healthcare cost; medication adherence; health resource utilization
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