Thursday, 5 March 2015

The development of a cost prediction model for traumatic brain injury

SPHPM’s Dr Dean McKenzie has co-authored a paper with Dr Gershon Spitz and Professor Jennie Ponsford from the School of Psychological Sciences and David Attwood from the Transport Accident Commission which sought to develop a predictive model of costs after a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are defined as an injury caused by an external force, resulting in a temporary or lasting damage to areas of the brain which are responsible for physical and cognitive functions. This can also lead to a lessened state of consciousness.

The expense of a traumatic brain injury within Australia has been projected to be $2.5 million for moderate injury and $4.8 million for more severe damage. The overall expense is approximately $8.6 billion. These are inclusive of hospital care, necessary apparatus, allied health therapy and any long term care required. 

Existing research has determined that there is no system in place to calculate or predict the expenses required on an individual level. The introduction of a model to predict costs would be useful for insurance and healthcare providers in terms of preparation of treatment plans and any future support services to allow for clear allocation for each individual case. Previous cases do indicate that an increased severity of damage has been associated with higher expenses. Given this relationship, a cost prediction model could assist in developing a low cost effective scheme.

The intention of the study by Dr Mckenzie and the researchers was to create a multivariate predictive model of costs from the date of the injury and over the next ten years after the accident. These expenses were to be projected for medical, hospital, paramedical and long term care for mild to severe injuries within Victoria. 

798 patients impacted by traumatic brain injury were involved in the study with the bulk of participants males aged from 15 to 34. Information regarding expenses was collected for hospital, medical, paramedical and long term care services over a ten year period following the injury. Results indicated that the length of post-traumatic amnesia was the most significant forecaster for each cost category. The models developed predicted 26% of medical expenses, 44% of hospital expenses, 34% of long term expenses and 23% of paramedical expenses. Higher expenses were generated based on patients who experienced longer post-traumatic amnesia, were at an older age at the time of the incident, living in a metropolitan region, experiencing chest or limb damage or being single before the incident. 

The researchers conclude that the study generated a clear and thorough examination of the various contributing features predicting the different cost categories for a traumatic brain injury. Lastly, the period of post traumatic amnesia was determined to be the most significant predictor for all different cost types. These models can be utilised for the developing of treatment plans and management for each individual impacted by traumatic brain injury. 

The study can be accessed here.

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