Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
Original Article
Effects of Health Guidance on Outpatient and Pharmacy Expenditures: A Disease- and Drug-Specific 3-Year Observational Study Using Propensity-Score Matching
Etsuji Okamoto
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2013 Volume 23 Issue 4 Pages 262-269


Background: Evidence is lacking on whether health guidance for metabolic syndrome reduces health care expenditures. The author used propensity-score matching to evaluate the effects of health guidance on health care expenditure.
Methods: Men who did and did not receive health guidance from a health insurance society (approximately 60 000 covered lives) were matched (n = 397 respectively) using propensity scores. Health insurance claims were compared using cumulative health care expenditures for metabolic syndrome-related outpatient medical care and drug costs for the period from the initial consultation to 3 years later.
Results: No difference was observed between intervention and control groups in cumulative outpatient charges or drug costs related to metabolic syndrome. However, regression analysis using the Tobit model showed that health guidance resulted in a small, nonsignificant reduction in health care expenditure.
Conclusions: Health guidance for metabolic syndrome did not reduce outpatient charges or drug costs related to metabolic syndrome during the 3-year period after the intervention. Findings from Tobit regression suggest that health guidance might eventually result in savings, but this hypothesis remains untested.

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© 2013 Japan Epidemiological Association. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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