Objectives To assess the potential cost-effectiveness of the 45–49 year old health check versus usual care in Australian general practice using secondary data sources.
Method Risk factor profiles were generated for a hypothetical Australian cohort using data from the National Health Survey. Intervention effects were modelled based on a meta-analysis on risk factor changes in the 5 years after a health check. The Framingham Risk Equation was applied to estimate the 5-year cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence in the health check and usual care group respectively. A Markov model was then constructed to extrapolate long-term CVD outcomes, health care costs and Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) in both groups. Health check-related costs, applied to the health check group, were estimated from clinical guideline and experts’ opinion. Lifetime costs, applied to both groups, included costs of hospitalization for CVD events and associated post-event health service use. The Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) was calculated for male and female patients respectively.
Results Compared to usual care, the health check reduced CVD incidence for both males (RR = 0.87) and females (RR = 0.91) over a 5-year time. In a lifetime projection, health check led to an average 0.008 and 0.003 QALYs gained per male and female participants respectively. The estimates ICERs were AU $42,355 and AU $133,504 per QALY gained for males and females, respectively. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis demonstrated a probability of cost-effectiveness of 17.5% and 0% for male and female attendees, assuming a willingness to pay threshold of AU $28,000 per QALY gained.
Conclusion The 45–49 year old health check is associated with a small expected QALY gain per participant, though the persons avoiding CVD events experience large health gains. The mean ICER is larger than an empirical estimate of the threshold ICER and the evaluated health check is highly unlikely to be cost-effective.
Bibliographical noteCopyright: © 2018 Si et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License [CC-BY], which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
- Medical risk factors
- Cardiovascular disease
- health checks