Investigating DRG cost weights for hospitals in middle income countries

Int J Health Plann Manage. 2009 Jul-Sep;24(3):251-64. doi: 10.1002/hpm.948.


Identifying the cost of hospital outputs, particularly acute inpatients measured by Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), is an important component of casemix implementation. Measuring the relative costliness of specific DRGs is useful for a wide range of policy and planning applications. Estimating the relative use of resources per DRG can be done through different costing approaches depending on availability of information and time and budget. This study aims to guide costing efforts in Iran and other countries in the region that are pursuing casemix funding, through identifying the main issues facing cost finding approaches and introducing the costing models compatible with their hospitals accounting and management structures. The results show that inadequate financial and utilisation information at the patient's level, poorly computerized 'feeder systems'; and low quality data make it impossible to estimate reliable DRGs costs through clinical costing. A cost modelling approach estimates the average cost of 2.723 million Rials (Iranian Currency) per DRG. Using standard linear regression, a coefficient of 0.14 (CI = 0.12-0.16) suggests that the average cost weight increases by 14% for every one-day increase in average length of stay (LOS).We concluded that calculation of DRG cost weights (CWs) using Australian service weights provides a sensible starting place for DRG-based hospital management; but restructuring hospital accounting systems, designing computerized feeder systems, using appropriate software, and development of national service weights that reflect local practice patterns will enhance the accuracy of DRG CWs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / economics*
  • Financial Management, Hospital*
  • Hospital Costs*
  • Iran