Variations in hospital costs after traffic injuries: The importance of sociodemographic aspects and comorbidities

Stefanie Devos, Griet Van Belleghem, Karen Pien, Ives Hubloue, Isidoor Lauwaert, Tom van Lier, Lieven Annemans, Koen Putman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The impact of sociodemographic aspects and comorbidities on the inpatient hospital care costs of traffic victims are not clear. The main goal of this study is to provide insights into the sociodemographic characteristics and clinical conditions (including comorbidities) of the victims that result in higher hospital costs.

PARTICIPANTS: For the period 2009-2011, people admitted to a hospital as a result of a road traffic crash (N=64,304) were identified in the national Minimal Hospital Dataset, after which they were linked to their respective claims data from the sickness funds.

METHODS: A generalized linear model was used to analyse hospital costs controlling for roadway user categories, demographics (gender, age, individual socioeconomic status (SES)), and clinical factors (the nature, location, and severity of injury, and comorbidities).

RESULTS: The median hospital cost was € 2801 (IQR € 1510-€ 7175, 2015 Euros). There was no significant difference between gender. Low SES inpatients incurred 16% (95% CI: 14%-18%) higher hospital costs than inpatients of high SES. The presence of comorbidities was associated with an increased hospital cost, however with varying magnitude. For example traffic victims suffering from dementia incur significantly higher hospital costs than those who were not (49% higher, 95% CI: 44%-53%), whereas diabetes was associated with a smaller increase in costs compared to non-diabetics (13%, 95% CI: 10%-16%).

CONCLUSION: Comorbidities and low SES are associated with higher hospital costs for traffic victims, notwithstanding their age, and the nature and the severity of their injury. The broad variability of hospital costs among trauma inpatients should be accounted for when reconsidering financing models. Furthermore, the strong predictive value of some comorbidities and SES on hospital costs should be considered when projections of future health care utilisation in traffic safety scenarios are prepared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2132-2139
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Accidents, Traffic/economics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Belgium/epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Emergency Service, Hospital/economics
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization/economics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay/economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wounds and Injuries/economics
  • Young Adult


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