Introduction of the Tools for Economic Analysis of Patient Management Interventions in Heart Failure Costing Tool: A User-Friendly Spreadsheet Program to Estimate Costs of Providing Patient-Centered Interventions
health care costs
Health Information Technology
Background—Patient-centered health care interventions, such as heart failure disease management programs, are under increasing pressure to demonstrate good value. Variability in costing methods and assumptions in economic evaluations of such interventions limit the comparability of cost estimates across studies. Valid cost estimation is critical to conducting economic evaluations and for program budgeting and reimbursement negotiations. Methods and Results—Using sound economic principles, we developed the Tools for Economic Analysis of Patient Management Interventions in Heart Failure (TEAM-HF) Costing Tool, a spreadsheet program that can be used by researchers and health care managers to systematically generate cost estimates for economic evaluations and to inform budgetary decisions. The tool guides users on data collection and cost assignment for associated personnel, facilities, equipment, supplies, patient incentives, miscellaneous items, and start-up activities. The tool generates estimates of total program costs, cost per patient, and cost per week and presents results using both standardized and customized unit costs for side-by-side comparisons. Results from pilot testing indicated that the tool was well-formatted, easy to use, and followed a logical order. Cost estimates of a 12-week exercise training program in patients with heart failure were generated with the costing tool and were found to be consistent with estimates published in a recent study. Conclusions—The TEAM-HF Costing Tool could prove to be a valuable resource for researchers and health care managers to generate comprehensive cost estimates of patient-centered interventions in heart failure or other conditions for conducting high-quality economic evaluations and making well-informed health care management decisions.