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  • Study protocol: A multi-centre, double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group, phase II trial (RIDD) to determine the efficacy of intra-nodular injection of anti-TNF to control disease progression in early Dupuytren's disease, with an embedded dose response study. [version 2; referees: 2 approved]

    9 July 2018

    © 2017 Nanchahal J et al. Dupuytren's disease is a common fibrotic condition of the hand affecting 4% of the population and causes the fingers to curl irreversibly into the palm. It has a strong familial tendency, there is no approved treatment for early stage disease, and patients with established digital contractures are most commonly treated by surgery. This is associated with prolonged recovery, and less invasive techniques have high recurrence rates. The myofibroblasts, the cells responsible for the excessive matrix deposition and contraction, are aggregated in nodules. Using excised diseased and control human tissue, we found that immune cells interspersed amongst the myofibroblasts secrete cytokines. Of these, only tumour necrosis factor (TNF) promoted the development of myofibroblasts. The clinically approved anti-TNF agents led to inhibition of the myofibroblast phenotype in vitro. This clinical trial is designed to assess the efficacy of the anti-TNF agent adalimumab on participants with early disease. The first part is a dose-ranging study where nodules of participants already scheduled for surgery will be injected with either placebo (saline) or varying doses of adalimumab. The excised tissue will then be analysed for markers of myofibroblast activity. The second part of the study will recruit participants with early stage disease. They will be randomised 1: 1 to receive either adalimumab or placebo at 3 month intervals over 1 year and will then be followed for a further 6 months. Outcome measures will include nodule hardness, size and disease progression. The trial will also determine the cost-effectiveness of adalimumb treatment for this group of participants.

  • A cost-effectiveness analysis of optimal care for diabetic foot ulcers in Australia.

    27 June 2018

    In addition to affecting quality of life, diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) impose an economic burden on both patients and the health system. This study developed a Markov model to analyse the cost-effectiveness of implementing optimal care in comparison with the continuation of usual care for diabetic patients at high risk of DFUs in the Australian setting. The model results demonstrated overall 5-year cost savings (AUD 9100·11 for those aged 35-54, $9391·60 for those aged 55-74 and $12 394·97 for those aged 75 or older) and improved health benefits measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) (0·13 QALYs, 0·13 QALYs and 0·16 QALYs, respectively) for high-risk patients receiving optimal care for DFUs compared with usual care. Total cost savings for Australia were estimated at AUD 2·7 billion over 5 years. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that optimal care always had a higher probability of costing less and generating more health benefits. This study provides important evidence to inform Australian policy decisions on the efficient use of health resources and supports the implementation of evidence-based optimal care in Australia. Furthermore, this information is of great importance for comparable developed countries that could reap similar benefits from investing in these well-known evidence-based strategies.

  • A cost-effectiveness modelling study of strategies to reduce risk of infection following primary hip replacement based on a systematic review.

    27 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: A deep infection of the surgical site is reported in 0.7% of all cases of total hip arthroplasty (THA). This often leads to revision surgery that is invasive, painful and costly. A range of strategies is employed in NHS hospitals to reduce risk, yet no economic analysis has been undertaken to compare the value for money of competing prevention strategies. OBJECTIVES: To compare the costs and health benefits of strategies that reduce the risk of deep infection following THA in NHS hospitals. To make recommendations to decision-makers about the cost-effectiveness of the alternatives. DESIGN: The study comprised a systematic review and cost-effectiveness decision analysis. SETTING: 77,321 patients who had a primary hip arthroplasty in NHS hospitals in 2012. INTERVENTIONS: Nine different treatment strategies including antibiotic prophylaxis, antibiotic-impregnated cement and ventilation systems used in the operating theatre. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in the number of deep infections, change in the total costs and change in the total health benefits in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). DATA SOURCES: Literature searches using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were undertaken to cover the period 1966-2012 to identify infection prevention strategies. Relevant journals, conference proceedings and bibliographies of retrieved papers were hand-searched. Orthopaedic surgeons and infection prevention experts were also consulted. REVIEW METHODS: English-language papers only. The selection of evidence was by two independent reviewers. Studies were included if they were interventions that reported THA-related deep surgical site infection (SSI) as an outcome. Mixed-treatment comparisons were made to produce estimates of the relative effects of competing infection control strategies. RESULTS: Twelve studies, six randomised controlled trials and six observational studies, involving 123,788 total hip replacements (THRs) and nine infection control strategies, were identified. The quality of the evidence was judged against four categories developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Methods for Development of NICE Public Health Guidance ( ), accessed March 2012. All evidence was found to fit the two highest categories of 1 and 2. Nine competing infection control interventions [treatments (Ts) 1-9] were used in a cohort simulation model of 77,321 patients who had a primary THR in 2012. Predictions were made for cases of deep infection and total costs, and QALY outcomes. Compared with a baseline of T1 (no systemic antibiotics, plain cement and conventional ventilation) all other treatment strategies reduced risk. T6 was the most effective (systemic antibiotics, antibiotic-impregnated cement and conventional ventilation) and prevented a further 1481 cases of deep infection, and led to the largest annual cost savings and the greatest gains to QALYs. The additional uses of laminar airflow and body exhaust suits indicate higher costs and worse health outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: T6 is an optimal strategy for reducing the risk of SSI following THA. The other strategies that are commonly used among NHS hospitals lead to higher cost and worse QALY outcomes. Policy-makers, therefore, have an opportunity to save resources and improve health outcomes. The effects of laminar air flow and body exhaust suits might be further studied if policy-makers are to consider disinvesting in these technologies. LIMITATIONS: A wide range of evidence sources was synthesised and there is large uncertainty in the conclusions. FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and the Queensland Health Quality Improvement and Enhancement Programme (grant number 2008001769).

  • Cost-effectiveness of a text message programme for the prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events.

    13 July 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME), a text message-based intervention that provides advice, motivation, information and support to improve health-related behaviours. METHODS: A lifetime Markov model was used to estimate major vascular events (myocardial infarctions and strokes) avoided, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, costs to the health system and the incremental cost per QALY gained. The model was informed by data from a randomised controlled trial of TEXT ME, with evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses used to estimate the effects of changes in risk factors on the risk of major vascular events. Expected costs and health outcomes were estimated with uncertainty surrounding these characterised using probabilistic sensitivity analysis and a number of scenario analyses. RESULTS: For a target population of 50 000 patients with documented coronary heart disease, the intervention is expected to lead to 563 fewer myocardial infarctions, 361 fewer strokes and 1143 additional QALYs. TEXT ME is expected to lead to an overall saving of $10.56 million for the health system over the patients' lifetimes. The intervention can therefore be considered cost-saving and health-improving. Neither parameter nor structural uncertainty had a significant impact on the conclusion that TEXT ME is cost-effective. CONCLUSIONS: The provision of TEXT ME is predicted to lead to better health outcomes and an overall saving in costs for the health system. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: identifier: ACTRN12611000161921.

  • Improved wound management at lower cost: a sensible goal for Australia.

    28 June 2018

    Chronic wounds cost the Australian health system at least US$2·85 billion per year. Wound care services in Australia involve a complex mix of treatment options, health care sectors and funding mechanisms. It is clear that implementation of evidence-based wound care coincides with large health improvements and cost savings, yet the majority of Australians with chronic wounds do not receive evidence-based treatment. High initial treatment costs, inadequate reimbursement, poor financial incentives to invest in optimal care and limitations in clinical skills are major barriers to the adoption of evidence-based wound care. Enhanced education and appropriate financial incentives in primary care will improve uptake of evidence-based practice. Secondary-level wound specialty clinics to fill referral gaps in the community, boosted by appropriate credentialing, will improve access to specialist care. In order to secure funding for better services in a competitive environment, evidence of cost-effectiveness is required. Future effort to generate evidence on the cost-effectiveness of wound management interventions should provide evidence that decision makers find easy to interpret. If this happens, and it will require a large effort of health services research, it could be used to inform future policy and decision-making activities, reduce health care costs and improve patient outcomes.

  • The cost-effectiveness of the MobileMums intervention to increase physical activity among mothers with young children: a Markov model informed by a randomised controlled trial.

    28 June 2018

    OBJECTIVES: To determine the cost-effectiveness of the MobileMums intervention. MobileMums is a 12-week programme which assists mothers with young children to be more physically active, primarily through the use of personalised SMS text-messages. DESIGN: A cost-effectiveness analysis using a Markov model to estimate and compare the costs and consequences of MobileMums and usual care. SETTING: This study considers the cost-effectiveness of MobileMums in Queensland, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: A hypothetical cohort of over 36 000 women with a child under 1 year old is considered. These women are expected to be eligible and willing to participate in the intervention in Queensland, Australia. DATA SOURCES: The model was informed by the effectiveness results from a 9-month two-arm community-based randomised controlled trial undertaken in 2011 and registered retrospectively with the Australian Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611000481976). Baseline characteristics for the model cohort, treatment effects and resource utilisation were all informed by this trial. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) of MobileMums compared with usual care. RESULTS: The intervention is estimated to lead to an increase of 131 QALYs for an additional cost to the health system of 1.1 million Australian dollars (AUD). The expected incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for MobileMums is 8608 AUD per QALY gained. MobileMums has a 98% probability of being cost-effective at a cost-effectiveness threshold of 64 000 AUD. Varying modelling assumptions has little effect on this result. CONCLUSIONS: At a cost-effectiveness threshold of 64 000 AUD, MobileMums would likely be a cost-effective use of healthcare resources in Queensland, Australia. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Australian Clinical Trials Registry; ACTRN12611000481976.