Measuring the indirect and direct costs of acute otitis media

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999 Jan;125(1):12-8. doi: 10.1001/archotol.125.1.12.


Objectives: To test a method of measuring the related cost of acute otitis media (AOM) and to provide a preliminary calculation of the indirect and directs costs associated with a single, medically treated episode of AOM.

Design: The Otitis Media Diary was used to measure indirect and direct costs associated with AOM in a prospective cohort study. Measured values included the parental time spent in otitis-specific child care and the number and type of medications used. A previously developed economic model was used to calculate the monetary costs associated with the value of caregiver time and the total opportunity cost of AOM.

Setting: The pediatric clinic of Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.

Patients: A cohort of 25 children (12 with AOM and 13 controls) aged 1 to 3 years.

Main outcome measures: Caregiver time and medication use.

Results: The total cost attributable to AOM in the 3-month period following diagnosis was $1330.58 (95% confidence interval, $1008.75-$1652.43), with the majority of that cost stemming from the indirect, rather than direct, costs of illness. After conservative estimates of unmeasured expenses, such as clinic visits and transportation, were accounted for, indirect costs, accrued primarily by parental time, accounted for nearly 90% (95% confidence interval, 87.1%-92.3%) of the total 3-month cost associated with AOM and its medical treatment. The cost items of the Otitis Media Diary were also highly correlated with each other and with other measures of clinical and functional health status.

Conclusions: Otitis Media Diary measures of parental time and medication use appear to provide a more accurate means of calculating the real social costs attributable to the AOM disease process in this cost-effectiveness analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Caregivers / economics
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Direct Service Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Models, Economic
  • Otitis Media / economics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Washington