Cost-Effectiveness of Moist Exposed Burn Therapy

Atiyeh BS, et al. J Burns & Surg Wound Care, 2004; 3(1): 3-12
In the present study, a very significant earlier spontaneous healing of second degree burns was achieved with the moist exposed therapy at a lesser cost of most of the measured parameters, even though some differences were not statistically significant probably due to the small size of the study and control groups.  Overall total treatment cost was also significantly reduced by MEBO with a significant reduction of the physicians work load, and a very significant reduction of the nurses work load.  The exact benefit of the reduction in work load and time spent with the burned patients by the concerned health personnel cannot be evaluated by the present study which only estimates the cost of labor affected. 
Measures to estimate the added benefits that may be derived from investing the health personnel during the saved time in other beneficial actions with other patients might only add to the cost-effectiveness of the moist exposed therapy and is an important parameter that must be considered in future cost-benefit studies.  Even though no significant difference between the cost of MEBO and that of the other topical agents was observed, when the cost of dressings is added to the cost of topical materials, the extent of savings realized by moist exposed therapy without an overlying dressing become clearly evident.  Moreover, better scar quality following primary and secondary healing with moisture retentive ointment application has already been reported.  This may mean that resultant scars following MEBO application may require fewer scars related treatment modalities and perhaps less secondary corrective procedures that by itself may make MEBO application a more cost beneficial local burn wound care modality. 
MEBT is a valid alternative to local care of second degree burn wounds.  In a previously published study, MEBO has been found to be a cost-beneficial alternative in the local management of minor to moderate second degree burns.  Results of the present study confirm these earlier observations.  Moreover, in addition to being less labor intensive, MEBT results in actual direct savings appreciated by all health care systems.  Its real value, however, can be appreciated better if the reduction in estimated losses due to poor healing and scarring are accounted for.  Positive investment of the saved physicians’ and nurses’ time adds further to the cost-effectiveness of this new local burn wound care modality.