AIM: Coupling data on future resource consumption with baseline characteristics can provide vital information of future consumption patterns for newly diagnosed patients. This study tested whether higher need (as measured by severity of illness) and other baseline characteristics of newly diagnosed patients were associated with higher future service costs.
METHOD: Five hundred forty-seven patients between 18 and 45?years randomized to the OPUS trial was analysed in the study. Multiple regression analysis was applied to estimate the impact of the explanatory variables on mean total costs, which consisted of total health care costs and costs of supportive living facilities.
RESULTS: Lower age, higher level of symptoms (global assessment of functioning), alcohol or cannabis misuse, and being homeless were associated with higher total costs over 5 years, whereas sex, duration of untreated psychosis, and educational level did not show any impact on future resource consumption.
CONCLUSION: The association between future costs and severity of illness suggests that higher needs among patients were associated with higher resource input level. Our results also indicate that other factors than need might affect future costs, for example, parents who serve as advocates for young patients had impact on future health costs. We also found indications of potential barriers among patients with other citizenship in access to health-care services. The strength of the study is that resource data were extracted from official Danish registers and interviewers collected information on clinical characteristics. The results are likely to be context-specific but can be generalized to settings with similar treatment practices.