Background: There is little information available to inform the cost-effectiveness of eHealth interventions in improving patient health outcomes. A trial-based economic evaluation was undertaken aiming to inform the feasibility of conducting a mobile phone text messaging programme targeting dietary behaviours in people receiving haemodialysis. Methods: A trial-based economic evaluation from a health system perspective of a 6-month pilot randomised controlled trial was undertaken. One hundred and thirty patients receiving haemodialysis from six dialysis units across Sydney, Australia, were enrolled into the KIDNEYTEXT study. Usual care (inperson dietary counselling) was compared with usual care plus three semi-personalised dietary mobile phone text messages per week over a 6-month period. The outcomes of this economic evaluation included: cost of intervention, cost-effectiveness and marginal effects on total costs. Results: The cost of developing and maintaining the KIDNEYTEXT intervention was US $110 per participant. Total costs were US $1418 higher in the usual care arm compared to the intervention arm. The incremental benefits for quality-adjusted life adjusted years were 0.01 [95% confidence interval (CI) = −0.03 to 0.06] and dietary adherence (i.e., adherent to three or more dietary guidelines at 6 months) being 0.04 (95% CI = −0.15 to 0.24). The largest component of total costs was related to unplanned admissions to hospital. Conclusions: Mobile phone text messages targeting dietary behaviours may be cost saving, at the same time as maintaining similar or improved dietary behaviours. A larger trial with a longer follow-up time is warranted.
- economic evaluation
- mobile phone text messages