(1/8073) Evaluating cost-effectiveness of diagnostic equipment: the brain scanner case.

An approach to evaluating the cost-effectiveness of high-technology diagnostic equipment has been devised, using the introduction of computerised axial tomography (CAT) as a model. With the advent of CAT scanning, angiography and air encephalography have a reduced, though important, role in investigating intracranial disease, and the efficient use of conventional equipment requires the centralisation of neuroradiological services, which would result in major cash savings. In contrast, the pattern of demand for CAT scanning, in addition to the acknowledged clinical efficiency of the scanner and its unique role in the head-injured patient, ephasies the need for improved access to scanners. In the interest of the patients the pattern of service must change.  (+info)

(2/8073) The use of targets to improve the performance of health care providers: a discussion of government policy.

The aim of this discussion paper is to examine the advantages and drawbacks of employing targets, or performance indicators, to improve the performance of those delivering health care services. The paper is based on an examination of two target-setting policies initiated by Government: the 1992 Health of the Nation strategy and the 1990 General Practitioners' Contract. It is argued that the introduction of both the General Practitioners' Contract and the Health of the Nation have indeed been accompanied by improvements in performance, however, there are a number of problems with targets. They tend to focus on those things that are most easily measured, and they may foster complacency on the part of providers who have already achieved upper target limits, and defensiveness on the part of those performing badly. National targets may skew local priorities; they may also be unrealistic and unattainable for particular, less privileged population groups. They may serve to widen inequalities in health, and can exacerbate the 'inverse care law' by encouraging providers to direct their efforts at the more advantaged sections of society, where such efforts are more likely to pay off in terms of overall improvements in the target level achieved. Finally, the achievement of some targets will not necessarily result in better health outcomes. The paper concludes that a target-setting approach to improving the quality of care must be based on the use of appropriate indicators, and must take account of differences between more and less advantaged sections of society.  (+info)

(3/8073) Economic consequences of the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in Sweden.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a simulation model for analysis of the cost-effectiveness of treatments that affect the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: The Markov model was developed on the basis of a Swedish cohort of 116 patients with early RA who were followed up for 5 years. The majority of patients had American College of Rheumatology (ACR) functional class II disease, and Markov states indicating disease severity were defined based on Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores. Costs were calculated from data on resource utilization and patients' work capacity. Utilities (preference weights for health states) were assessed using the EQ-5D (EuroQol) questionnaire. Hypothetical treatment interventions were simulated to illustrate the model. RESULTS: The cohort distribution among the 6 Markov states clearly showed the progression of the disease over 5 years of followup. Costs increased with increasing severity of the Markov states, and total costs over 5 years were higher for patients who were in more severe Markov states at diagnosis. Utilities correlated well with the Markov states, and the EQ-5D was able to discriminate between patients with different HAQ scores within ACR functional class II. CONCLUSION: The Markov model was able to assess disease progression and costs in RA. The model can therefore be a useful tool in calculating the cost-effectiveness of different interventions aimed at changing the progression of the disease.  (+info)

(4/8073) Use of out-of-plan services by Medicare members of HIP.

Use of out-of-plan services in 1972 by Medicare members of the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP) is examined in terms of the demographic and enrollment characteristics of out-of-plan users, types of services received outside the plan, and the relationship of out-of-plan to in-plan use. Users of services outside the plan tended to be more seriously ill and more frequently hospitalized than those receiving all of their services within the plan. The costs to the SSA of providing medical care to HIP enrollees are compared with analogous costs for non-HIP beneficiaries, and the implications for the organization and financing of health services for the aged are discussed.  (+info)

(5/8073) Should prophylaxis for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in solid organ transplant recipients ever be discontinued?

Solid organ transplant recipients are at risk for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), but the risk of PCP beyond 1 year is poorly defined. We identified 25 cases of PCP in 1,299 patients undergoing solid organ transplantation between 1987 and 1996 at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (4.8 cases per 1,000 person transplant-years [PTY]). Ten (36%) of 28 PCP cases (transplantation was performed before 1987 in three cases) occurred > or = 1 year after transplantation, and no patient developed PCP while receiving prophylaxis for PCP. The incidence of PCP during the first year following transplantation was eight times higher than that during subsequent years. The highest rate occurred among lung transplant recipients (22 cases per 1,000 PTY), for whom the incidence did not decline beyond the first year of transplantation. We conclude that the incidence of PCP is highest during the first year after transplantation and differs by type of solid organ transplant. Extending the duration of PCP prophylaxis beyond 1 year may be warranted for lung transplant recipients.  (+info)

(6/8073) The cost effectiveness of strategies for the treatment of intestinal parasites in immigrants.

BACKGROUND: Currently, more than 600,000 immigrants enter the United States each year from countries where intestinal parasites are endemic. At entry persons with parasitic infections may be asymptomatic, and stool examinations are not a sensitive method of screening for parasitosis. Albendazole is a new, broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug, which was approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration. International trials have shown albendazole to be safe and effective in eradicating many parasites. In the United States there is now disagreement about whether to screen all immigrants for parasites, treat all immigrants presumptively, or do nothing unless they have symptoms. METHODS: We compared the costs and benefits of no preventive intervention (watchful waiting) with those of universal screening or presumptive treatment with 400 mg of albendazole per day for five days. Those at risk were defined as immigrants to the United States from Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Cost effectiveness was expressed both in terms of the cost of treatment per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted (one DALY is defined as the loss of one year of healthy life to disease) and in terms of the cost per hospitalization averted. RESULTS: As compared with watchful waiting, presumptive treatment of all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would avert at least 870 DALYs, prevent at least 33 deaths and 374 hospitalizations, and save at least $4.2 million per year. As compared with watchful waiting, screening would cost $159,236 per DALY averted. CONCLUSIONS: Presumptive administration of albendazole to all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would save lives and money. Universal screening, with treatment of persons with positive stool examinations, would save lives but is less cost effective than presumptive treatment.  (+info)

(7/8073) The use of atypical antipsychotics in the management of schizophrenia.

Long-term drug treatment of schizophrenia with conventional antipsychotics has limitations: an estimated quarter to one third of patients are treatment-resistant; conventional antipsychotics have only a modest impact upon negative symptoms (poverty of thought, social withdrawal and loss of affect); and adverse effects, particularly extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). Newer, so-called atypical, antipsychotics such as olanzapine, risperidone, sertindole and clozapine (an old drug which was re-introduced in 1990) are claimed to address these limitations. Atypical agents are, at a minimum, at least as effective as conventional drugs such as haloperidol. They also cause substantially fewer extrapyramidal symptoms. However, some other adverse effects are more common than with conventional drugs. For example, clozapine carries a significant risk of serious blood disorders, for which special monitoring is mandatory; it also causes troublesome drowsiness and increased salivation more often than conventional agents. Some atypical agents cause more weight gain or QT prolongation than older agents. The choice of therapy is, therefore, not straightforward. At present, atypical agents represent an advance for patients with severe or intolerable EPS. Most published evidence exists to support the use of clozapine, which has also been shown to be effective in schizophrenia refractory to conventional agents. However, the need for compliance with blood count monitoring and its sedative properties make careful patient selection important. The extent of any additional direct benefit offered by atypical agents on negative symptoms is not yet clear. The lack of a depot formulation for atypical drugs may pose a significant practical problem. To date, only two double-blind studies in which atypical agents were compared directly have been published. Neither provides compelling evidence for the choice of one agent over another. Atypical agents are many times more expensive than conventional drugs. Although drug treatment constitutes only a small proportion of the costs of managing schizophrenia, the additional annual cost of the use of atypical agents in, say, a quarter of the likely U.K. schizophrenic population would be about 56 M pound sterling. There is only limited evidence of cost-effectiveness. Atypical antipsychotics are not currently licensed for other conditions where conventional antipsychotics are commonly used, such as behaviour disturbance or dementia in the elderly. Their dose, and place in treatment in such cases have yet to be determined.  (+info)

(8/8073) The reach and effectiveness of a national mass media-led smoking cessation campaign in The Netherlands.

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the reach, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of a mass media-led smoking cessation campaign including television shows, a television clinic, a quit line, local group programs, and a comprehensive publicity campaign. METHODS: A random sample of baseline smokers (n = 1338) was interviewed before and after the campaign and at a 10-month follow-up. A nonpretested control group (n = 508) of baseline smokers was incorporated to control for test effects. RESULTS: Most smokers were aware of the campaign, although active participation rates were low. Dose-response relations between exposure and quitting were found. The follow-up point prevalence abstinence rate attributable to the campaign was estimated to be 4.5% after control for test effects and secular trends. The cost per long-term quitter was about $12. CONCLUSIONS: In spite of a massive rise in tobacco promotion expenditures prior to the campaign and the absence of governmental control over the media, the campaign under study may have increased normal cessation rates substantially.  (+info)