Paediatrics and Child Health
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the incremental cost-effectiveness of a system-based approach for the management of neonatal jaundice and the prevention of kernicterus in term and late-preterm (≥35 weeks) infants, compared with the traditional practice based on visual inspection and selected bilirubin testing. STUDY DESIGN: Two hypothetical cohorts of 150,000 term and late-preterm neonates were used to compare the costs and outcomes associated with the use of a system-based or traditional practice approach. Data for the evaluation were obtained from the case costing centre at a large teaching hospital in Ontario, supplemented by data from the literature. RESULTS: The per child cost for the system-based approach cohort was $176, compared with $173 in the traditional practice cohort. The higher cost associated with the system-based cohort reflects increased costs for predischarge screening and treatment and increased postdischarge follow-up visits. These costs are partially offset by reduced costs from fewer emergency room visits, hospital readmissions and kernicterus cases. Compared with the traditional approach, the cost to prevent one kernicterus case using the system-based approach was $570,496, the cost per life year gained was $26,279, and the cost per quality-adjusted life year gained was $65,698. CONCLUSION: The cost to prevent one kernicterus case using the system-based approach is much lower than previously reported in the literature. ©2012 Pulsus Group Inc. All rights reserved.