Estimating the cost and value of functional changes in communication ability following telepractice treatment for aphasia

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 17;16(9):e0257462. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257462. eCollection 2021.


Context: Aphasia is a post-stroke condition that can dramatically impact a person with aphasia's (PWA) communication abilities. To date, few if any studies have considered the cost and cost-effectiveness of functional change in aphasia nor considered measures of patient's value for aphasia treatment.

Objective: To assess the cost, cost-effectiveness, and perceived value associated with improved functional communication in individuals receiving telerehabilitation treatment for aphasia.

Design: Twenty PWA completed between 5 and 12 telehealth rehabilitation sessions of 45-60 minutes within a 6-week time frame using a Language-Oriented Treatment (LOT) designed to address a range of language issues among individuals with aphasia. National Outcomes Measures (NOMS) comprehension and verbal expression and the ASHA Quality of Communication Life (QCL) were completed prior to and at the completion of rehabilitation to obtain baseline and treatment measures.

Results: Age, education, and race are significantly correlated with improvement in the NOMS verbal expression. African Americans (OR = 2.0917) are twice as likely as Whites to experience improvement after treatment. The likelihood of improvement also increases with each additional year of education (OR = 1.002) but decrease with age (OR = 0.9463). A total of 15 PWA showed improvement in NOMS comprehension and nine patients showed improvement in NOMS verbal expression. Improving patients attended between five and 12 treatment sessions. The average cost of improvement in NOMS comprehension was $1,152 per patient and NOMS verbal expression was $1,128 per patient with individual treatment costs varying between $540 and $1,296. However, on average, the monetary equivalent in patient's improved QCL was between $1,790.39 to $3,912,54-far exceeding the financial cost of treatment.

Conclusions: When measuring the functional improvement of patients with aphasia, patient's quality of communication life received from treatment exceeded financial cost of services provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aphasia / economics*
  • Aphasia / ethnology
  • Aphasia / rehabilitation
  • Black or African American
  • Educational Status
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / economics*
  • Quality of Life
  • Speech Therapy
  • Telerehabilitation / economics*
  • Telerehabilitation / methods
  • White People