A cost minimisation analysis of a telepaediatric otolaryngology service

Xu, Cathy Q., Smith, Anthony C., Scuffham, Paul A. and Wootton, Richard (2008) A cost minimisation analysis of a telepaediatric otolaryngology service. BMC Health Services Research, 8 30: 1-10. doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-30

Author Xu, Cathy Q.
Smith, Anthony C.
Scuffham, Paul A.
Wootton, Richard
Title A cost minimisation analysis of a telepaediatric otolaryngology service
Journal name BMC Health Services Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-6963
Publication date 2008-02-04
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1472-6963-8-30
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 30
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Editor Mellisa Norton
Place of publication London, U. K.
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject C1
119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
1402 Applied Economics
140208 Health Economics
920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified
111403 Paediatrics
110315 Otorhinolaryngology
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Paediatric ENT services in regional areas can be provided through telemedicine (tele-ENT) using videoconferencing or with a conventional outpatient department ENT service (OPD-ENT) in which patients travel to see the specialist. The objective of this study was to identify the least-cost approach to providing ENT services for paediatric outpatients.


A cost-minimisation analysis was conducted comparing the annual costs of the two modes of service provided by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) in Brisbane. Activity records were reviewed to analyse volume of activity during a 12 month period in 2005, i.e. number of clinics, duration of clinics, number of consultations via telemedicine and in outpatient clinics, diagnoses, and travel related information. A sensitivity analysis was conducted using factors where there was some uncertainty or potential future variation.

During the study period, 88 ENT consultations were conducted via videoconference for 70 patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital. 177 ENT consultations were conducted at the RCH for 117 patients who had travelled from the Bundaberg region to Brisbane. The variable cost of providing the tele-ENT service was A$108 per consultation, compared with A$155 per consultation for the conventional outpatient service. Telemedicine was cheaper when the workload exceeded 100 consultations per year. If all 265 consultations were conducted as tele-ENT consultations, the cost-savings would be $7,621.

The cost-minimisation analysis demonstrated that under the circumstances described in this paper, the tele-ENT service was a more economical method for the health department of providing specialist ENT services.
© 2008 Xu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keyword Otolaryngology
Cost minimisation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Centre for Online Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 23 Mar 2009, 15:08:58 EST by Lisa Garner on behalf of Centre for On-Line Health