THE PROBLEM

Despite the increase in hospitalisation for cutaneous abscess treatment in the United States, mirrored by a 48% increase in hospitalisation due to cutaneous abscesses in Australia between 1999 and 2008, the treatment of skin abscesses has remained relatively unchanged for the last fifty years. The economic, financial, and personal costs of cutaneous abscesses are significant, yet often under-recognised. Whilst considered relatively benign, abscesses are a significant precursor to major adverse medical outcomes such as sepsis, infective endocarditis, osteomyelitis, necrotising fasciitis, and septic arthritis.  Typically, patients seek initial help from a primary care provider. Small, superficial, or pointing abscesses are generally amenable to treatment by primary health care providers; however, deeper (>2cm below the skin), complex abscesses and those in individuals with more complicated medical histories are typically referred to Emergency Departments (EDs). Local data from one of Perth’s busiest EDs, Royal Perth Hospital, indicates that 60% of patients presenting to ED for treatment of deep subcutaneous abscesses were admitted under the surgical team for in-patient, in-theatre incision and drainage. A 2-3 day inpatient stay is common, as the procedure is non-urgent and is frequently ‘bumped’ from theatre lists resulting in patients being fasted multiple times, and a longer overall hospital stay.

 

Limited abscess prevalence data are available; however, Australia wide, the annual hospitalisation rate for abscesses is approximately 62 per 100,000 population and rising. In the US, an estimated 2.5 million people are affected each year. The average cost per episode for inpatient treatment of abscesses without complicating factors is AU$3,506 based on the National Hospital Cost Data Collection Cost Weights Round 20 for 2015-2016, rising to AU$8,045 when complications occur. Using the conservative incidence data and costing, the cost of hospitalisation for abscesses is approximately AU$5,378,204 per annum in Western Australia.

 

Inova Medical is currently utilising ICD-10 data and reimbursement information to refine initial market estimates; however, initial estimates indicate a potential $500m+ market when considering the US and Australia. Other potential markets such as the EU, UK, and China are being evaluated.

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