Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Significant Care Costs Associated with Cellulitis

J Am Acad Dermatol; ePub 2018 Feb 7; St. John, et al

Although there is no criterion standard for diagnosis or treatment of cellulitis, a recent analysis demonstrates the need for more evidence-based management to achieve better outcomes and reduce the significant health care costs. A retrospective chart review was conducted for adult patients who presented to outpatient facilities at Massachusetts General Hospital from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2011, with recurrent cellulitis. Data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were used. A total of 157 patients were identified; 56% were male, with a mean age of 62.7 years. Researchers found:

  • The mean number of episodes of cellulitis per patient was 3.
  • Antibiotics were prescribed for all patients with a diagnosis of recurrent cellulitis, with 93% treated with oral antibiotics and 17.6% treated with intravenous antibiotics.
  • A total of 1,081 laboratory and 175 radiologic imaging tests were ordered.
  • The minimum average cost per cellulitis episode was $586.91; the average cost per visit was $292.50.

St. John J, Strazzula L, Vedak P, Kroshinsky D. Estimating the health care costs associated with recurrent cellulitis managed in the outpatient setting. [Published online ahead of print February 7, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.09.010.

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