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Keywords:

  • Personnel time;
  • costs;
  • resource utilization;
  • drug administration;
  • erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESAs)

Abstract

Use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) presents a significant time and cost burden in the management of anemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD). We conducted a prospective, observational, activity-based costing study to estimate the health care personnel time and resulting direct medical costs associated with administering epoetin 3 times weekly to patients with end-stage renal disease on dialysis. The study was conducted at 5 US hemodialysis centers. The personnel time and costs were derived from time and motion observations. Predicted time and cost savings were modeled for switching patients to once-monthly ESA therapy. Patients also completed a survey questionnaire to assess their level of CKD knowledge and information needs. Total per-patient-per-year (PPPY) time expended on anemia management with epoetin averaged 608 minutes (range 512–915 minutes), with an average PPPY cost of $548 (range $342–$651). Use of a once-monthly ESA, compared with epoetin, could decrease average PPPY time expenditure by 79% (127 minutes [range 96–173 minutes]) and reduce PPPY costs by 81% ($104 [range $79–$136]). The patient questionnaire reported insufficient education on CKD. Use of a once-monthly ESA to correct anemia in dialysis patients may provide substantial time, resource, and cost savings compared with current treatment practices.