Scoliosis Screening Costs in Hong Kong, Rochester Similar

Costs of screening and diagnosing adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in school program have risen

FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The costs of an adolescent idiopathic scoliosis school screening program in Hong Kong are comparable with the costs of student screening in Rochester, Minn., the only other location that has undergone a comparable screening program evaluation, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

C.F. Lee, Ph.D., of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted a population-based retrospective study of the screening and medical histories of a cohort of 115,190 students screened for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who were in the fifth grade in 1995/96 or 1996/97 and were followed up until they were 19 years old or left school.

The researchers found that the total expenses in the screening centers increased steadily from $380,930 in 1995/96 to $2,417,824 in 2005/06. The costs of screening and diagnosing one student during adolescence were $17.94 and $2.08, respectively. Of the 1,311 students who went to specialist hospitals for diagnosis, 264 were given back braces and 39 had surgery. The medical care costs were an average $34.61 per student screened. The costs of finding one student with a curvature of 20 degrees or more and one treated case were $4,475.67 and $20,768.29, respectively. The screening costs in this study in Hong Kong were comparable to the costs in Rochester, where there was a similar protocol that was evaluated in a similar manner.

"The reported cost estimates in this study are highly relevant to policy makers for the allocation of health care resources," the authors write.

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