Objective: To assess the relative cost effectiveness of clinical nurse specialist care, inpatient team care, and day patient team care.
Methods: Incremental cost effectiveness analysis and cost utility analysis, alongside a prospective randomised controlled trial with two year follow up. Included were patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with increasing difficulty in performing activities of daily living over the previous six weeks. Quality of life and utility were assessed by the Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality of Life questionnaire, the Short Form-6D, a transformed rating scale, and the time tradeoff. A cost-price analysis was conducted to estimate the costs of inpatient and day patient hospitalisations. Other healthcare and non-healthcare costs were estimated from cost questionnaires.
Results: 210 patients with RA (75% female, median age 59 years) were included. Aggregated over the two year follow up period, no significant differences were found on the quality of life and utility instruments. The costs of the initial treatment were estimated at €200 for clinical nurse specialist care, €5000 for inpatient team care, and €4100 for day patient team care. Other healthcare costs and non-healthcare costs were not significantly different. The total societal costs did not differ significantly between inpatients and day patients, but were significantly lower for the clinical nurse specialist patients by at least €5400.
Conclusions: Compared with inpatient and day patient team care, clinical nurse specialist care was shown to provide equivalent quality of life and utility, at lower costs. Therefore, for patients with health conditions that allow for any of the three types of care, the preferred treatment from a health-economic perspective is the care provided by the clinical nurse specialist.
- economic analysis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- clinical nurse specialist
- multidisciplinary team care
- CEA, cost effectiveness analysis
- CUA, cost utility analysis
- ES, effect size
- QALY, quality adjusted life year
- RA, rheumatoid arthritis
- RAQoL, Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality of Life
- SF-6D, Short Form-6D
- TRS, transformed rating scale
- TTO, time tradeoff
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Current address: Dr J M W Hazes, Department of Rheumatology of the Rotterdam University Hospital , The Netherlands