Cost estimation of small bowel capsule endoscopy based on "real world" data: inpatient or outpatient procedure?

Dig Liver Dis. 2010 Nov;42(11):798-802. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2010.03.006.


Background: Although capsule endoscopy is the cornerstone for the evaluation of the small bowel in patients with obscure GI bleeding data about costs are lacking.

Aim: To evaluate, from a third party payer point of view, whether performing capsule endoscopy as an outpatient instead of an inpatient procedure can reduce costs.

Materials and methods: The data source is a multicentre survey collecting data for 2921 patients; 1486 of them underwent capsule endoscopy for obscure GI bleeding or chronic unexplained iron-deficiency anaemia as inpatients (814 with positive, 211 with inconclusive and 461 with negative result). We estimated costs of inpatient procedures based on the diagnosis related groups (DRG) system, while those of outpatient procedures on reimbursement provided in five Italian regions.

Results: We estimated that the cost for each inpatient undergoing capsule endoscopy is about € 1775.90. Assuming that all these patients had undergone the same procedure as outpatients, € 175.00-741.00 per patient (depending on the reimbursement and/or on diagnosis related group codes applied) would have been saved.

Conclusions: Our estimate suggests that, from the third party payer's perspective and using the diagnosis related group reimbursement system, shifting capsule endoscopy from inpatient to outpatient procedure, would be potentially cost saving at least for patients referred for obscure GI bleeding or chronic unexplained anaemia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / economics*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Capsule Endoscopy / economics*
  • Cost Savings / methods
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / economics
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / economics*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement
  • Italy
  • Outpatients
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Statistics as Topic