Medical costs and economic production losses due to injuries in the Netherlands

J Trauma. 1997 Jun;42(6):1116-23. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199706000-00023.


Background: To support injury control, we assessed the direct medical costs and indirect costs of injuries in the Netherlands, making use of recent advances in health economics.

Methods: We estimated the direct medical costs with the help of available data on health care utilization as a consequence of injuries. In our calculations of indirect costs, we used two alternative approaches. We used the traditional human-capital approach, which estimates the potential economic production losses caused by diseases or injuries. In addition, we applied the friction-costs method, which was recently developed as an attempt to measure the actual economic production losses to society.

Results: Injuries are an important source of medical costs and economic production losses. Almost two-thirds of the medical costs are the result of injuries among females (mainly domestic injuries of elderly women). On the contrary, independent of the method used, more than 80% of the indirect costs are the result of injuries among males (mainly caused by a high frequency of traffic injuries, occupational injuries, and sports injuries among young males). The application of the friction-costs method confirms the importance of injuries as a source of production losses in comparison with other diseases, showing that they belong to the main three causes of indirect costs to society.

Conclusions: Estimates of the medical costs and both the potential and actual economic production losses to society clearly demonstrate that injuries should be a major concern for health policy makers and the medical profession.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / economics
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / economics
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Athletic Injuries / economics
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Employment / economics
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics*