Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Health-systems efficiency in the Russian Federation: tuberculosis control

Katherine Floyd, Raymond Hutubessy, Yevgeniy Samyshkin, Alexei Korobitsyn, Ivan Fedorin, Gregory Volchenkov, Boris Kazeonny, Richard Coker, Francis Drobniewski, Wieslaw Jakubowiak, Margarita Shilova, & Rifat A Atun

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE

To conduct a comprehensive assessment of the case-mix of patients admitted to tuberculosis hospitals and the reasons for their admission in four Russian regions: Ivanovo, Orel, Samara and Vladimir. We also sought to quantify the extent to which efficiency could be improved by reducing hospitalization rates and re-profiling hospital beds available in the tuberculosis-control system.

METHODS

We used a standard questionnaire to determine how beds were being used and who was using the beds in tuberculosis facilities in four Russian regions. Data were collected to determine how 4306 tuberculosis beds were utilized as well as on the socioeconomic and demographic indicators, clinical parameters and reasons for hospitalization for 3352 patients.

FINDINGS

Of the 3352 patients surveyed about 70% were male; the average age was 40; and rates of unemployment, disability and alcohol misuse were high. About one-third of beds were occupied by smear-positive or culture-positive tuberculosis patients; 20% were occupied by tuberculosis patients who were smear-negative and/or culture-negative; 20% were occupied by patients who no longer had tuberculosis; and 20% were unoccupied. If clinical and public health admission criteria were applied then < 50% of admissions would be justified and < 50% of the current number of beds would be required. Up to 85% of admissions and beds were deemed to be necessary when social problems and poor access to outpatient care were considered along with clinical and public health admission criteria.

CONCLUSION

Much of the Russian Federation’s large tuberculosis hospital infrastructure is unnecessary when clinical and public health criteria are used, but the large hospital infrastructure within the tuberculosis-control system has an important social support function. Improving the efficiency of the system will require the reform of health-system norms and regulations as they relate to resource allocation and clinical care and implementation of lower-cost approaches to case management for patients with social problems. Additionally, closer attention will need to be paid to the management of staff numbers in the tuberculosis system.

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