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    ABSTRACT: The aim is to describe and trial a pragmatic method to produce estimates of the incremental cost-effectiveness of care services from survey data. The main challenge is in estimating the counterfactual; that is, what the patient's quality of life would be if they did not receive that level of service. A production function method is presented, which seeks to distinguish the variation in care-related quality of life in the data that is due to service use as opposed to other factors. A problem is that relevant need factors also affect the amount of service used and therefore any missing factors could create endogeneity bias. Instrumental variable estimation can mitigate this problem. This method was applied to a survey of older people using home care as a proof of concept. In the analysis, we were able to estimate a quality-of-life production function using survey data with the expected form and robust estimation diagnostics. The practical advantages with this method are clear, but there are limitations. It is computationally complex, and there is a risk of misspecification and biased results, particularly with IV estimation. One strategy would be to use this method to produce preliminary estimates, with a full trial conducted thereafter, if indicated. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Health Economics 08/2014; 23(8). DOI:10.1002/hec.2973
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    ABSTRACT: To assess whether the START (STrAtegies for RelatTives) intervention added to treatment as usual is cost effective compared with usual treatment alone. Cost effectiveness analysis nested within a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. Three mental health and one neurological outpatient dementia service in London and Essex, UK. Family carers of people with dementia. Eight session, manual based, coping intervention delivered by supervised psychology graduates to family carers of people with dementia added to usual treatment, compared with usual treatment alone. Costs measured from a health and social care perspective were analysed alongside the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale total score (HADS-T) of affective symptoms and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in cost effectiveness analyses over eight months from baseline. Of the 260 participants recruited to the study, 173 were randomised to the START intervention, and 87 to usual treatment alone. Mean HADS-T scores were lower in the intervention group than the usual treatment group over the 8 month evaluation period (mean difference -1.79 (95% CI -3.32 to -0.33)), indicating better outcomes associated with the START intervention. There was a small improvement in health related quality of life as measured by QALYs (0.03 (-0.01 to 0.08)). Costs were no different between the intervention and usual treatment groups (£252 (-28 to 565) higher for START group). The cost effectiveness calculations suggested that START had a greater than 99% chance of being cost effective compared with usual treatment alone at a willingness to pay threshold of £30 000 per QALY gained, and a high probability of cost effectiveness on the HADS-T measure. The manual based coping intervention START, when added to treatment as usual, was cost effective compared with treatment as usual alone by reference to both outcome measures (affective symptoms for family carers, and carer based QALYs). ISCTRN 70017938.
    BMJ (online) 10/2013; 347(oct25 2):f6342. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f6342
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    ABSTRACT: The College Voor Zorgverzekeringen (CVZ) provides guidance to the Dutch healthcare system on funding and use of new pharmaceutical technologies. This study examined the impact of evidence, process and context factors on CVZ decisions in 2004-2009. A data set of CVZ decisions pertaining to pharmaceutical technologies was created, including 29 variables extracted from published information. A three-category outcome variable was used, defined as the decision to 'recommend', 'restrict' or 'not recommend' a technology. Technologies included in list 1A/1B or on the expensive drug list were considered recommended; those included in list 2 or for which patient co-payment is required were considered restricted; technologies not included on any reimbursement list were classified as 'not recommended'. Using multinomial logistic regression, the relative contribution of explanatory variables on CVZ decisions was assessed. In all, 244 technology appraisals (256 technologies) were analysed, with 51 %, of technologies recommended, 33 % restricted and 16 % not recommended by CVZ for funding. The multinomial model showed significant associations (p ≤ 0.10) between CVZ outcome and several variables, including: (1) use of an active comparator and demonstration of statistical superiority of the primary endpoint in clinical trials, (2) pharmaceutical budget impact associated with introduction of the technology, (3) therapeutic indication and (4) prevalence of the target population. Results confirm the value of a comprehensive and multivariate approach to understanding CVZ decision-making.
    The European Journal of Health Economics 07/2013; DOI:10.1007/s10198-013-0514-z
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: We reviewed evidence on the cost-effectiveness of prevention, care and treatment strategies in relation to dementia. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of available literature on economic evaluations of dementia care, searching key databases and websites in medicine, social care and economics. Literature reviews were privileged, and other study designs were included only to fill gaps in the evidence base. Narrative analysis was used to synthesise the results. RESULTS: We identified 56 literature reviews and 29 single studies offering economic evidence on dementia care. There is more cost-effectiveness evidence on pharmacological therapies than other interventions. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for mild-to-moderate disease and memantine for moderate-to-severe disease were found to be cost-effective. Regarding non-pharmacological treatments, cognitive stimulation therapy, tailored activity programme and occupational therapy were found to be more cost-effective than usual care. There was some evidence to suggest that respite care in day settings and psychosocial interventions for carers could be cost-effective. Coordinated care management and personal budgets held by carers have also demonstrated cost-effectiveness in some studies. CONCLUSION: Five barriers to achieving better value for money in dementia care were identified: the scarcity and low methodological quality of available studies, the difficulty of generalising from available evidence, the narrowness of cost measures, a reluctance to implement evidence and the poor coordination of health and social care provision and financing. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 06/2013; 28(6). DOI:10.1002/gps.3864
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    ABSTRACT: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidance to the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales on funding and use of new technologies. This study examined the impact of evidence, process and context factors on NICE decisions in 2004-2009. A data set of NICE decisions pertaining to pharmaceutical technologies was created, including 32 variables extracted from published information. A three-category outcome variable was used, defined as the decision to 'recommend', 'restrict' or 'not recommend' a technology. With multinomial logistic regression, the relative contribution of explanatory variables on NICE decisions was assessed. A total of 65 technology appraisals (118 technologies) were analysed. Of the technologies, 27% were recommended, 58% were restricted and 14% were not recommended by NICE for NHS funding. The multinomial model showed significant associations (p ⩽ 0.10) between NICE outcome and four variables: (i) demonstration of statistical superiority of the primary endpoint in clinical trials by the appraised technology; (ii) the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER); (iii) the number of pharmaceuticals appraised within the same appraisal; and (iv) the appraisal year. Results confirm the value of a comprehensive and multivariate approach to understanding NICE decision making. New factors affecting NICE decision making were identified, including the effect of clinical superiority, and the effect of process and socio-economic factors.
    Health Economics Policy and Law 05/2013; 9(02):1-23. DOI:10.1017/S1744133113000030
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. For people with schizophrenia, non-adherence to antipsychotic medications may result in high use of health and other services. The objective of our research was to examine the economic consequences of non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic medication. Methods. Data were taken from QUATRO, a randomized controlled trial that drew a sample of adults with schizophrenia receiving psychiatric services in four European cities: Amsterdam, Leipzig, London and Verona. Trial inclusion criteria were a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia, requiring on-going antipsychotic medication for at least 1-year following baseline assessment, and exhibiting evidence of clinical instability in the year prior to baseline. The patient-completed Medication Adherence Questionnaire (MAQ) was used to calculate the 5-point Morisky index of adherence. Generalized linear models (GLM) were developed to determine the effect of adherence on (i) health and social care and (ii) societal costs before and after treatment, taking into account other potential cost-influencing factors. Results. The effect of non-adherence on costs was mixed. For different groups of services, and according to treatment group assignment, non-adherence was both negatively and positively associated with costs. Conclusions. The impact of non-adherence on costs varies across the types of services used by individuals with schizophrenia.
    Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 04/2013; 23(01):1-10. DOI:10.1017/S2045796013000097
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the costs and cost effectiveness of telehealth in addition to standard support and treatment, compared with standard support and treatment. Economic evaluation nested in a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial. Community based telehealth intervention in three local authority areas in England. 3230 people with a long term condition (heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or diabetes) were recruited into the Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth trial between May 2008 and December 2009. Of participants taking part in the Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth questionnaire study examining acceptability, effectiveness, and cost effectiveness, 845 were randomised to telehealth and 728 to usual care. Intervention participants received a package of telehealth equipment and monitoring services for 12 months, in addition to the standard health and social care services available in their area. Controls received usual health and social care. Primary outcome for the cost effectiveness analysis was incremental cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. We undertook net benefit analyses of costs and outcomes for 965 patients (534 receiving telehealth; 431 usual care). The adjusted mean difference in QALY gain between groups at 12 months was 0.012. Total health and social care costs (including direct costs of the intervention) for the three months before 12 month interview were £1390 (€1610; $2150) and £1596 for the usual care and telehealth groups, respectively. Cost effectiveness acceptability curves were generated to examine decision uncertainty in the analysis surrounding the value of the cost effectiveness threshold. The incremental cost per QALY of telehealth when added to usual care was £92 000. With this amount, the probability of cost effectiveness was low (11% at willingness to pay threshold of £30 000; >50% only if the threshold exceeded about £90 000). In sensitivity analyses, telehealth costs remained slightly (non-significantly) higher than usual care costs, even after assuming that equipment prices fell by 80% or telehealth services operated at maximum capacity. However, the most optimistic scenario (combining reduced equipment prices with maximum operating capacity) eliminated this group difference (cost effectiveness ratio £12 000 per QALY). The QALY gain by patients using telehealth in addition to usual care was similar to that by patients receiving usual care only, and total costs associated with the telehealth intervention were higher. Telehealth does not seem to be a cost effective addition to standard support and treatment. ISRCTN43002091.
    BMJ (online) 03/2013; 346(mar20 4):f1035. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f1035
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Approximately one in ten children aged 5-15 in Britain has a conduct, hyperactivity or emotional disorder. METHODS: The British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys (BCAMHS) identified children aged 5-15 with a psychiatric disorder, and their use of health, education and social care services. Service costs were estimated for each child and weighted to estimate the overall economic impact at national level. RESULTS: Additional health, social care and education costs associated with child psychiatric disorders totalled £1.47bn in 2008. The lion's share of the costs falls to frontline education and special education services. CONCLUSIONS: There are huge costs to the public sector associated with child psychiatric disorder, particularly the education system. There is a pressing need to explore ways to reduce these costs while improving health and well-being.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2013; 54(9). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12055
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    ABSTRACT: A high proportion of people with severe mental health problems are unemployed but would like to work. Individual Placement and Support (IPS) offers a promising approach to establishing people in paid employment. In a randomized controlled trial across six European countries, we investigated the economic case for IPS for people with severe mental health problems compared to standard vocational rehabilitation. Individuals (n=312) were randomized to receive either IPS or standard vocational services and followed for 18 months. Service use and outcome data were collected. Cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted with two primary outcomes: additional days worked in competitive settings and additional percentage of individuals who worked at least 1 day. Analyses distinguished country effects. A partial cost-benefit analysis was also conducted. IPS produced better outcomes than alternative vocational services at lower cost overall to the health and social care systems. This pattern also held in disaggregated analyses for five of the six European sites. The inclusion of imputed values for missing cost data supported these findings. IPS would be viewed as more cost-effective than standard vocational services. Further analysis demonstrated cost-benefit arguments for IPS. Compared to standard vocational rehabilitation services, IPS is, therefore, probably cost-saving and almost certainly more cost-effective as a way to help people with severe mental health problems into competitive employment.
    World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) 02/2013; 12(1):60-8. DOI:10.1002/wps.20017
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the thresholds at which provision of unpaid care affects employment in England. Previous research has shown that providing care for 20 or more hours a week has a negative effect on employment. The present article explores the impact of a lower threshold and asks whether provision of care for 10 or more hours a week has a negative effect on employment. The article focuses on women and men aged between 50 and State Pension Age (60 for women, 65 for men). The study uses data from the first four waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), collected in 2002/2003, 2004/2005, 2006/2007 and 2008/2009. Across these waves, there are 17 123 people aged 50-59/64 years, of whom 9% provide unpaid care to an adult. Using logistic regression analysis of the longitudinal data, the study finds that employed women in their fifties who start providing care for <10 hours a week are significantly more likely to remain in employment one wave later than similar women who have not started to provide care. In contrast, employed women in their fifties who start providing care for 10 or more hours a week are significantly less likely to remain in employment one wave later than similar women who have not started to provide care. Employed men aged between 50 and State Pension Age, who provide care for 10 or more hours a week at the beginning of the period have a significantly reduced employment rate one wave later than those who do not provide care. The study therefore suggests that carers' employment may be negatively affected when care is provided at a lower intensity than is generally estimated in England. This has important implications for local authorities, who have a duty to provide services to carers whose employment is at risk.
    Health & Social Care in the Community 01/2013; 21(3). DOI:10.1111/hsc.12018
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