Is there a Social Value to Peristomal Skin Health?

Thomas Nichols, M.S., MBA, Health Economics, Hollister Incorporated, Libertyville, IL
Introduction: Peristomal skin problems affect the wellbeing of those that must cope and adapt to their impact.  Compromised peristomal skin health can intermittently affect day to day living in those that have undergone ostomy surgery.  Peristomal skin dermatoses are reported to be a significant problem affecting upwards of 2/3’s of ostomates1.  Peristomal skin complications are health stressors, and it may be expected that their effect is cumulative to include social impact and the cost to society.  Of interest is the impact that peristomal skin health has social interactivity of the person that has undergone ostomy surgery.

Objective: It was the objective of this analysis to assess the relationship between peristomal skin complications, social interaction, and health utility in an adult U.S. population.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey (n=2,329) utilizing the SF36v2® survey instrument2, the SF6D3, indices of social interactivity, and self-reported measures of peristomal skin condition. IRB approval was obtained for the conduct of the study. Statistical analysis includes generalized linear models utilizing analysis of covariance.  Covariates in this study are time from surgery and age of the respondent. 

Results: The study provides empirical evidence that as social interactivity increases there is a corresponding increase in health utility increase. This is shown to be significantly impacted by peristomal skin condition, i.e., as peristomal skin condition increases or decreases in severity there are significant corresponding directional changes in health utility.  The health utility changes associated with changes in peristomal skin health, and resulting changes in social interactivity, is representative of a minimally important social value of peristomal skin health.

Conclusions: The successful clinician does far more than treat a patient.  The clinician adds value to the community.  Peristomal skin health, is a capital asset, allows an investment in community that can be realized as an overall socio-economic benefit to society.