Aim: To compare the costs of community-based food allergy model of care (intervention cohort, IC) with a tertiary-hospital, specialist allergy clinic model of care (control cohort, CC). Methods: In this pragmatic controlled trial, children (aged 0–12 years) newly referred to the allergy clinic at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital with suspected/known food allergy to three or fewer foods were allocated to see either a community-based paediatrician, trained via online webinars and web-based clinical decision support tools for food allergy diagnosis and management, or a hospital allergist. Per-patient costs to the health-care system and out-of-pocket costs to families seen within 12 months (clinician time, allergy tests and medicare billing) were compared between the two models of care. Results: At 12 months, 54/181 (30%) CC families had been seen in the allergy clinic and 93/115 (81%) of the IC families who chose to see a community paediatrician had been seen. In an intention-to-treat analysis (ITT), health-care system costs per IC patient were higher than the costs per CC patient (mean cost $333 versus $319, respectively; mean difference $14, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) −97 to 118, P = 0.81). Total out-of-pocket costs to family were $129 in the IC compared with $89 in the CC (mean difference $40, 95% CI $4–$77, P = 0.03). Conclusions: A community-based model of care for simple food allergy showed that costs to the health-care system were similar between the community model and hospital care but did not show reduced out-of-pocket costs to the families 12-months post-enrolment.
- food allergy care