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The health care burden of high grade chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Korea: analysis of the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service data

Authors Kim JH, Rhee CK, Yoo KH, Kim YS, Lee SW, Park YB, Lee JH, Oh YM, Lee SD, Kim Y, Kim KJ, Yoon HK

Received 17 May 2013

Accepted for publication 24 July 2013

Published 19 November 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 561—568

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S48577

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

JinHee Kim,1 Chin Kook Rhee,2 Kwang Ha Yoo,3 Young Sam Kim,4 Sei Won Lee,5 Yong Bum Park,6 Jin Hwa Lee,7 YeonMok Oh,5 Sang Do Lee,5 Yuri Kim,8 KyungJoo Kim,8 HyoungKyu Yoon9

1Office of Health Service Research, National Evidence-Based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul, Korea; 2Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St Mary’s Hospital, Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 3Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 4Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 5Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 6Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea; 7Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea; 8Department of Clinical Research Support, National Strategic Coordinating Center for Clinical Research, Seoul, Korea; 9Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yeouido St Mary’s Hospital, Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Background: Patients with high grade chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) account for much of the COPD-related mortality and incur excessive financial burdens and medical care utilization. We aimed to determine the characteristics and medical care use of such patients using nationwide data from the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service in 2009.
Materials and methods: Patients with COPD were identified by searching with the International Classification of Diseases–10th Revision for those using medication. Patients with high grade COPD were selected based on their patterns of tertiary institute visits and medication use.
Results: The numbers of patients with high grade COPD increased rapidly in Korea during the study period, and they showed a high prevalence of comorbid disease. The total medical costs were over three times higher in patients with high grade COPD compared with those without it ($3,744 versus $1,183; P < 0.001). Medication costs comprised the largest portion of medical cost, but most impact came from hospitalization and exacerbation in both groups of patients. COPD grade and hospitalization in the previous year were the major factors affecting medical costs and days of utilizing health care resources.
Conclusion: Patients with high grade COPD impose a high economic burden on the health care system in Korea. Prevention of progression to high grade COPD is important, both clinically and economically.

Keywords: COPD, population characteristics, health care utilization, medical cost

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