Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
MARTINEZ CARRANZA, Edith Olimpia et al. Opportunity cost for men who visit family medicine units in the city of Querétaro, Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.6, pp. 456-462. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010001200007.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the opportunity cost for men who seek care in the family medicine units (FMU) of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) in the city of Querétaro. METHODS: A sample was selected of 807 men, ages 20 to 59 years, who sought care through the family medicine, laboratory, and pharmacy services provided by the FMU at the IMSS in Querétaro. Patients referred for emergency services and those who left the facilities without receiving care were excluded. The sample (n = 807) was calculated using the averages for an infinite population formula, with a confidence interval of 95% (CI95%) and an average opportunity cost of US$5.5 for family medicine, US$3.1 for laboratory services, and US$2.3 for pharmacy services. Estimates included the amount of time spent on travel, waiting, and receiving care; the number of people accompanying the patient, and the cost per minute of paid and unpaid job activities. The opportunity cost was calculated using the estimated cost per minute for travel, waiting, and receiving care for patients and their companions. RESULTS: The opportunity cost for the patient travel was estimated at US$0.97 (CI95%: 0.81-1.15), while wait time was US$5.03 (CI95%: 4.08-6.09) for family medicine, US$0.06 (CI95%: 0.05-0.08) for pharmacy services, and US$1.89 (CI95%: 1.56-2.25) for laboratory services. The average opportunity cost for an unaccompanied patient visit varied between US$1.10 for pharmacy services alone and US$8.64 for family medicine, pharmacy, and laboratory services. The weighted opportunity cost for family medicine was US$6.24. CONCLUSIONS: Given that the opportunity cost for men who seek services in FMU corresponds to more than half of a minimum salary, it should be examined from an institutional perspective whether this is the best alternative for care.
Keywords : Cost-benefit analysis; family practice; men's health; Mexico.