Simon Borghs

Most Epilepsy Health Care Encounters Are Unplanned and Costly Interview with:

Simon Borghs

Simon Borghs

Simon Borghs MSc
RWE Strategy Lead of Neurology
UCB:  Union Chimique Belge What is the background for this study?

Response: Epilepsy is an episodic disease and so is associated with a more or less unpredictable occurrence of health care encounters. These encounters are costly and so reducing them, or their unpredictability, could be cost saving.

The objective was to assess one half of this equation, that is the actual cost of those encounters to insurers. This could prompt insurers to consider addressing possible interventions in epilepsy to reduce the number of encounters What are the main findings?

Response: Among the findings:

  • 37% of epilepsy-related hospitalizations included care in the intensive care unit (ICU), compared with 29% of all hospitalizations in patients with epilepsy.
  • In commercially insured patients, epilepsy-related health care encounters were associated with a median (Q1-Q3) unit cost to insurers of $687 ($415-$1083) for emergency transportation, $1913 ($417-$4163) for ED visit, and $22,305 ($14,336-$36,096) for hospitalization.
  • In commercially insured patients at working age (19-64 years), the median (Q1-Q3) length of stay of an epilepsy-related hospitalization was 4 (2-5) days. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Overall, we found that health care encounters associated with epilepsy are costly, and many of them are ‘unplanned,’ such as emergency transportation and emergency department visits. Reducing these will clearly be cost saving. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The research pointed to the average cost of epilepsy-related health care encounters but doesn’t provide any pointers as to how the number of encounters, and so the total cost, might be reduced. This could be done by further characterizing the patients that are having these encounters – for instance, their type of epilepsy, whether they have seizure clusters, their antiepileptic drug prescriptions, their adherence to those drugs, whether they have regular physician follow-up, etc. By doing this, one might find that a certain type of patients is having more encounters and costing the healthcare system more, which could be the basis for designing interventions. 

Disclosures: This was a UCB, Inc. sponsored study.


Unit cost of epilepsy-related health care encounters in the US

Abstract presented at the December 2019 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting (AES) in Baltimore, MD


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Last Updated on January 10, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD