- Although an association between depression and increased healthcare costs is apparent, the impact of depressive symptoms on healthcare utilization has not yet been fully determined.
- Adult patients with a primary diagnosis of depression were surveyed; patients in the top 10% with regard to annual costs were classified as high utilizers with depression (HUds, n = 193) and compared these patients with the remaining patients (non-HUds, n = 1728). Annual all-cause total healthcare costs were around 8 times higher, and mental health-related costs approximately 6 times higher in HUds. HUds had significantly higher numbers of inpatient encounters and outpatient visits, and were hospitalized more than twice as long as non-HUds. Several predictors of becoming a HUd were identified, including substance use, obesity, cardiovascular disease, comorbidity severity, other psychiatric conditions, and pain.
- To reduce the risk of individuals with depression becoming high utilizers of healthcare resources, it may be useful to direct early intervention toward factors associated with high utilization, such as pain, use of other substances, and comorbid psychiatric conditions.
The following is a summary of Robinson RL, Grabner M, Palli SR, et al. Covariates of depression and high utilizers of healthcare: impact on resource use and costs. J Psychosom Res. 2016;85:35–43, which was developed independently of the article authors. Background Studies investigating high utilizers of healthcare have often shown an association between depression and…