Unit value of hospital admissions

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Unit cost for health care involving hospitalisation. Included in the total unit cost are 1) resource costs i.e. medical costs paid by the health service or covered by an insurance and any other out-of-pocket expenses paid by the person/family, 2) opportunity costs i.e. cost in terms of lost productivity, and 3) disutility i.e. other social and economic costs including restrictions on or reduced enjoyment of leisure activities and discomfort or inconvenience to family members or others.

Dimensions and boundaries relevant for the variable

  • Country
  • Cause of hospitalisation



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ExternE 2005[1]

Resource cost

Generic unit resource cost for hospitalisation (year 2000 prices). Based on data from Netten & Curtis (2000)[2], Ready et al. (2004)[3]

Country €/inpatient day
Belgium 241
France 375
Germany 321
Italy 256
Netherlands 390
Spain 345
UK 330
Mean (EU) 323

Opportunity cost

  • Direct cost (salary cost of absent individual, replacement cost, lost service or production time)
    • Mean: 114 €/employee-day absence
    • Median: 85 €/employee-day absence (recommended central estimate)
  • Indirect cost (lower customer satisfaction, poorer quality of products or services leading to a loss of future business): 168 €/emloyee-day absence
    • There is less confidence in this value due to low survey response rate. Representativeness not fully established.
  • Based on CBI (1998)[4]

A crude alternative to the figures presented above is to use information from EUROSTAT Statistical Yearbook on mean annual gross earnings paid to EU employees and divide this by the size of labour force to give mean annual productivity. This gives a value of €56. However, the estimate does not include all costs (direct or indirect), and is therefore recommended to be used as a lower boundary estimate.

Country-specific estimates of direct and indirect costs are can be derived by scaling EUROSTAT country data to EUROSTAT data for UK, and to apply this scaling factor to the values derived from CBI study. If this data is not available, country purchasing power parity relative to UK can be used.

  • Mean total cost estimates (including direct and indirect costs) for EU
    • lower bound €58
    • Central estimate €88
    • upper bound €261


  • Mean: 468 €/occurrence
  • Based on Ready et al. (2004), who estimated willingness-to-pay (WTP) for respiratory hospital admissions in a survey-based approach (contingent valuation method).

Total unit cost per hospital admission

  • Price year 2003: 2141 €/hospital admission from respiratory distress
    • resource cost for 3 days
    • Productivity loss for 8 days
    • disutility cost


  • Unit resource costs for health care in Finland 2006 (in finnish)[5]
  • Unit costs for inpatient health care
    • Average for somatic medicine
      • 2713 €/hospitalisation period
      • 3.8 days/hospitalisation period
    • Internal medicine
      • 2818 €/hospitalisation period
      • 4.9 days/hospitalisation period
    • Pulmonary medicine
      • 2380 €/hospitalisation period
      • 4.8 days/hospitalisation period


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See also

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Will appear here automatically, if cited above using the <ref></ref> tags.
Additional references can also be listed here.
  1. European Commission 2005. ExternE, Externalities of Energy, Methodology 2005 Update. Bickel P & Friedrich R (Eds.)
  2. Netten A & Curtisl L (2000). Unit costs of Health and Social Care 2000. Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU)
  3. Ready R, Navrud S, Day B, Dubourg R., Machado F., Mourato S, Spanninks F & Rodriguez MXV (2004). Benefit Transfer in Europe: How Reliable Are Transfers Across Countries? Environmental & Resource Economics, 29: 67-82
  4. CBI (1998). Missing Out: 1998 Absence and Labour turnover Survey, London: Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
  5. Hujanen T, Kapiainen S, Tuominen U & Pekurinen M (2008). Terveydenhuollon yksikkökustannukset Suomessa 2006. Stakesin työpapereita 3/2008. Sosiaali- ja terveysalan tutkimus- ja kehittämiskeskus.