Objectives: The objective of the present study was to measure and compare the direct costs of intensive care unit (ICU) days at seven ICU departments in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom by means of a standardized costing methodology.
Methods: A retrospective cost analysis of ICU patients was performed from the hospital's perspective. The standardized costing methodology was developed on the basis of the availability of data at the seven ICU departments. It entailed the application of the bottom-up approach for "hotel and nutrition" and the top-down approach for "diagnostics," "consumables," and "labor."
Results: Direct costs per ICU day ranged from €1168 to €2025. Even though the distribution of costs varied by cost component, labor was the most important cost driver at all departments. The costs for "labor" amounted to €1629 at department G but were fairly similar at the other departments (€711 ± 115).
Conclusions: Direct costs of ICU days vary widely between the seven departments. Our standardized costing methodology could serve as a valuable instrument to compare actual cost differences, such as those resulting from differences in patient case-mix.
Copyright © 2012 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.