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Summary

Aims:  To examine medical resource use of Swedish patients with type 2 diabetes during 2000–2004 and to estimate annual costs of care.

Methods:  Retrospective population-based cohort study of patients with type 2 diabetes identified in computerised medical records at 26 primary care centres in Uppsala county, Sweden. Annual quantities of medical resources were determined for prevalent cases during 2000–2004 using register data from outpatient primary care, outpatient hospital care, the National Inpatient Register and a national register for treatment of uraemia. Average costs of care of patients with type 2 diabetes were estimated based on year 2004 resource quantities of 8230 prevalent study cases.

Results:  Annual quantities of medical resource use were stable in outpatient primary care and outpatient hospital care, with patients making an average of two General Practitioner visits and 3.5 outpatient hospital visits each year. Higher rates of hospitalisation [12% in 2000 (n = 6711) compared with 16% in 2004 (n = 8230)] led to an increase in the mean (SD) number of inpatient days from 2.3 (11.8) to 2.7 (11.9) (p = 0.040) between 2000 and 2004. Mean (SD) total costs of care in 2004 were EUR 3602 (EUR 9537). Inpatient care was the major contributor to costs, accounting for 57% of total costs while drug costs accounted for an average 7%.

Conclusions:  Swedish type 2 diabetic patients in this large sample from Uppsala county required steady annual amounts of outpatient care and increasing amounts of inpatient care during 2000–2004. The associated costs in 2004 were substantial, with inpatient care identified as the most important component.