Disease-related malnutrition (DRM) is a highly prevalent independent risk and cost factor with significant influence on mortality, morbidity, length of hospital stay (LOS), functional impairment and quality of life. The aim of our research was to estimate the economic impact of the introduction of routinely performed nutritional screening (NS) in a tertiary hospital, with subsequent nutritional interventions (NI) in patients with potential or manifest DRM. Economic impact analysis of natural detection of inpatients at risk and estimation of the change in economic activity after the implementation of a systematic NS were performed. The reference population for natural detection of DRM is about 20,000 inpatients per year. Based on current data, DRM prevalence is estimated at 20%, so 4000 patients with potential and manifest DRM should be detected. The NI costs were estimated at CHF 0.693 million, with savings of CHF 1.582 million (LOS reduction) and CHF 0.806 million in additional revenue (SwissDRG system). Thus, the introduction of routine NS generates additional costs of CHF 1.181 million that are compensated by additional savings of CHF 2.043 million and an excess in additional revenue of CHF 2.071 million. NS with subsequent adequate nutritional intervention shows an economic potential for hospitals.
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