Potential direct secondary care cost benefits of HealthyWeightHub - Virtual Hospital 2.0 digital lifestyle intervention
HealthyWeighHub (HWH) is a 12-month coaching and education service designed to help patients with obesity make permanent life changes, launched and expanded gradually in Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) Healthvillage since 2016.
We examined the direct secondary care cost benefits of HWH, measured with potential capacity freed (PCF) compared to conventional group coaching (CGC). Costs included health care, patient co-payments and travelling expenses. First, we evaluated the PCF actualized in the first two years from 2016 to 2018 in the HUS Specific Catchment Area (HUS ERVA). Then, we predicted the PCF at Finnish national level, if HWH was implemented gradually over the five years from 2018 to 2022, aimed at treating 1 % of adults with obesity annually in 2022.
HWH’s actualized PCF was €2.69 million compared to CGC in the first two years in HUS ERVA. If the patients who received CGC had been treated with HWH instead, total PCF could have been €3.71 million. At Finnish national level, providing CGC to 1 % of adults with obesity was predicted to cost €28.0 million (€5.08 per capita) annually in 2022. With HWH predicted cost was €7.31 million (€1.33 per capita), meaning an annual PCF of €20.7 million (€3.75 per capita) in 2022 and cumulative five-year PCF of €57.5 million (€10.43 per capita). Compared to CGC, HWH is estimated to enable treatment of approximately 3.8-times more patients with obesity at the same cost.
HWH can be more affordable than CGC and a potentially efficient tool to combat the obesity epidemic. Future evaluations should examine HWH’s effectiveness and impact on the indirect costs associated with weight loss and long-term illness.
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