The direct cost of "Thriasio" school screening program
Orthopaedic Department, "Thriasio" General Hospital, G. Gennimata Av. 19600, Magoula, Attica, Greece
Scoliosis 2007, 2:7 doi:10.1186/1748-7161-2-7Published: 14 May 2007
There is great diversity in the policies for scoliosis screening worldwide. The initial enthusiasm was succeeded by skepticism and the worth of screening programs has been challenged. The criticisms of school screening programs cite mainly the negative psychological impact on children and their families and the increased financial cost of visits and follow-up radiographs. The purpose of this report is to evaluate the direct cost of performing the school screening in a district hospital.
A cost analysis was performed for the estimation of the direct cost of the "Thriasio" school-screening program between January 2000 and May 2006. The analysis involved all the 6470 pupils aged 6–18 years old who were screened at schools for spinal deformities during this period. The factors which were taken into consideration in order to calculate the direct cost of the screening program were a) the number of the examiners b) the working hours, c) the examiners' salary, d) the cost of transportation and finally e) the cost of examination per child.
During the examined period 20 examiners were involved in the program and worked for 1949 working hours. The hourly salary for the trainee doctors was 6.80 euro, for the Health Visitors 6.70 euro and for the Physiotherapists 5.50 euro in current prices. The cost of transportation was 32 euro per year. The direct cost for the examination of each child for the above studied period was calculated to be 2.04 euro.
The cost of our school-screening program is low. The present study provides a strong evidence for the continuation of the program when looking from a financial point of view.