A Scoping Review of Behavioral Interventions Addressing Medical Financial Hardship

Patel, M. R., Jagsi, R., Resnicow, K., Smith, S. N., Hamel, L. M., Su, C., Griggs, J. J., Buchanan, D., Isaacson, N., Torby, M.

Little information has been compiled across studies about existing interventions to mitigate issues of medical financial hardship, despite growing interest in health care delivery. The purpose of this qualitative systematic scoping review was to examine content and outcomes of interventions to address medical financial hardship. PRISMA guidelines were applied to present results using PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL, published between January 1980 and August 2020. Additional studies were identified through reference lists of selected papers. Included studies focused on mitigating medical financial hardship from out-of-pocket (OOP) health care expenses as an intervention strategy with at least 1 evaluation component. Screening 2412 articles identified 339 articles for full-text review, 12 of which met inclusion criteria. Variation was found regarding targets and outcome measurement of intervention. Primary outcomes were in the following categories: financial outcomes (eg, OOP expenses), behavioral outcomes, psychosocial, health care utilization, and health status. No included studies reported significant reduction in OOP expenses, perceptions of financial burden/toxicity, or health status. However, changes were observed for behavioral outcomes (adherence to treatment, patient needs addressed), some psychosocial outcomes (mental health symptoms, perceived support, patient satisfaction), and care utilization such as routine health care. No patterns were observed in the achievement of outcomes across studies based on intensity of intervention. Few rigorous studies exist in this emerging field, and studies have not shown consistent positive effects. Future research should focus on conceptual clarity of the intervention, align outcome measurement and achieve consensus around outcomes, and employ rigorous study designs, measurement, and outcome follow-up.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): General/non-specific
Year Published: 2021
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