The socioeconomic impact of hemodialysis

Hippokratia 2004, 8(2):81-87

D Kaitelidou, P Ziroyanis, N Maniadakis, L Liaropoulos, M Theodorou
Center for Health Services Management & Evaluation, University of Athens, Nursing Division
Nephrology Dpt, “Gennimatas” General Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece
University Hospital of Rio, Patras, Greece
Hellenic Open University, European Observatory on Health Care Systems of WHO, Greek Hub


Background: Hemodialysis is the most widely approach to treat End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients in Greece. The purpose of the paper is to provide a microeconomic evaluation for the cost of dialysis in a public hospital setting, along with an estimate of the loss of production for these patients. Methods: A socioeconomic prevalence-based analysis was performed attempting the micro-economic evaluation of the resources consumed in order to provide hemodialysis therapy for ESRD patients. The loss of production for the patient and family were estimated and the method used was the human capital approach.
Results: It was estimated that the healthsector cost for hemodialysis has surpassed €171 million. The potential years of productivity lost due to mortality were, according human capital approach, 2,046 years leading to a cost of € 9,9 million, in 2000. The total morbidity cost due to absence from work and early retirement was estimated to be more than €273 million.
Conclusions: Results indicate that the total direct cost of hemodialysis constituted approximately 2% of the national health expenditure in Greece, providing care for 0.05% of the population. In addition to the costs imposed on the National Health System, it was estimated that production losses due to mortality and morbidity from the disease are also very significant. Organ-donation campaigns, introduction of satellite units in Greece and telemedicine are some recommendations which may hold some promise for the future and prove more cost-effective and psychologically advantageous for patients.