New report provides Ontario-specific findings for epilepsy and other brain disorders

July 23, 2015

By Deron Hamel

The collective impact and prevalence of brain disorders, including epilepsy, in Ontario is explored in a new report developed by the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

Specifically, the report, which was published in July, provides an understanding of the cumulative prevalence of 13 brain disorders in Ontario.

“We wanted to get an understanding of what brain disorders look like in Ontario,” explains Jordan Antflick, the OBI’s manager of knowledge translation. “We didn’t have an accurate picture of that ever before.

“This is an objective take looking at what brain disorders look like from the perspective of the health-care system and defining them collectively as brain disorders, including mental health and neurological diseases,” he says.

“The whole idea of looking at them together begins to paint a picture of the collective impact – who’s living with brain disorders, how many new cases there are every year and (what) the cost is from the health-care system perspective.”

In short, the report will help make an economic case for the impact of brain disorders in Ontario, Antflick says.

“It gives us a very keen understanding of the costs and some of the drivers of these costs – (such as) hospital costs,” he says. “This (report) helps with policy and planning decisions to determine what services need to be invested in to support people living with epilepsy.”

Key points in the report related to epilepsy include:

– Almost 90,000 Ontarians identified as having epilepsy during the study period of 1995-2011
– The average one-year health-care cost per person with a new diagnosis of epilepsy was $10,631
– Publicly funded health-care costs are highest for people 65 and older
– Among people who have epilepsy, more than 50 per cent of their health-care costs attributed to hospital visits and physician care

Antflick says the study is unique to Canada and Ontario because Ontario has a single payer for all publicly funded health care. This allows all transactions people make within the health-care system – including doctor and hospital visits as well as publicly funded prescriptions – to be tracked and the information stored in a single database.

This database, which is overseen by ICES, was never intended for research purposes; however, the organization has been working for many years to figure out how to use the data for research purposes as well as to understand how the health-care system works and how to make it more efficient, Antflick says.

“We have created a very rich source of data that’s standardized and provides a very accurate perspective of the health-care system, (and) we have the clinical expertise and the people who understand this data and make sense of it, and that’s who we worked with to create this report,” he says.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to read Epilepsy Ontario’s overview of the report.

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