Evaluating the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of multi-pathogen point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections

We estimated costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of three accurate 30-minute NAAT POCT strategies that detect different STI combinations, compared with standard care  (laboratory-based NAAT for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG)).  We found the CT-NG-MG-TV POCT strategy was the cheapest using tariff costing. It offered the most benefits, which in turn may have wider public health impacts through rapid and accurate STI diagnosis and management. Different testing strategies may be more cost-effective in different SHCs and patient groups. Further evidence is needed to capture the diversity of STI prevalence and management of patients across clinical services to better inform economic analyses.

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Harding-Esch EM, Huntington SE, Burns RM, et al. Evaluating the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of multi-pathogen point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections STI & HIV World Congress. 9-12 July 2017. Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

 

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Point of care testing: Disruptive innovation – is the NHS ready for it yet?

Our Managing Director, Elisabeth Adams, spoke in November about the importance of exploring the health economics of point of care testing (POCT) at the Royal Society of Medicine Telemedicine and eHealth event in London. The video of her presentation is now online – view the full talk here.

Why is it important to explore the health economics of point of care testing (POCT)?

Evaluating the health economics of POCTs can help us better understand the cost, benefits and value of implementing these tests, compared to standard laboratory tests. We need to explore the acquisition costs of innovative technology like POCTs compared to standard tests, as well as the benefits generated for patients, service providers, clinicians and public health in general. Benefits can include faster results, better care, fewer complications, more efficient services and better use of resources, and knock-on benefits like reduced prevalence of disease. Those making purchasing decisions for new tests need evidence to prove the value of the tests.

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Estimating the true costs of splitting HIV antiretroviral drugs

Problem: A regional UK commissioning decision in 2010 mandated that when the component drugs of Combivir—a combination therapy for HIV—come off patent, doctors must prescribe the individual drugs instead. This was driven by a perception that the generic component drugs are cheaper in the immediate-term and so more efficient overall. As our pharmaceutical client’s HIV combination drug was soon to come off patent, they wanted to help commissioners understand the full healthcare costs of such a policy, to inform future decisions.

 Approach: We worked with our client and clinicians in Nottingham University Hospital’s HIV clinic who had patient-level care data before and after the commissioning change. We planned the analysis and identified which costs would be used and which data were required.

 Impact: Our work contributes to the evidence-base of the costs of prescribing patients a single dose therapy over multiple doses. It has changed people’s perceptions of the costs of treating long-term conditions with combination drugs, and helped commissioners to make policy decisions about mandating use of particular drugs without taking a holistic view of healthcare.

 

Testimonial

“Aquarius provided a professional yet personal level of support with our project. We found the statistical support invaluable, and felt that they went the extra mile to ensure the project went smoothly and on time.”

  • Dr Ruth Taylor, Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

 

Related publications

 publication_iconTaylor R, Carlin E, Sadique Z, Ahmed I, Adams EJ. The financial and service implications of splitting fixed-dose antiretroviral drugs – a case study. Accepted Mar 2014, Int J STD AIDS

 

Increased efficiency and improved treatment for stable HIV patients in England

Problem: There was no guidance in England on how frequently stable HIV patients should attend clinics for routine visits, how frequently they should receive their HIV drugs and whether or not it would be cost efficient for patients to collect their drugs from the hospital pharmacy (which incurs VAT) or receive them through a home delivery (with associated delivery cost).

Approach: We built a simple spreadsheet tool in Microsoft Excel to estimate which strategy was the most cost-efficient. Local data from St George’s hospital were obtained and analysed, and supplemented with nationally published data as inputs in the model. Results suggested that the most cost efficient way of delivering care was to see stable patients for routine visits every six months in clinic, and give them their drugs through home delivery every three months; this would also save the most drug wastage for example if patients needed to switch to a new drug regimen. Results suggested that this could save roughly £2000 per patient annually, and roughly £8 million if it were implemented across England to the 4000 HIV patients in 2012.

Impact: Results were given to the London HIV commissioners, published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the tool is available to healthcare professionals so that they can put in their local data to help them make better decisions about healthcare provision.

 

Testimonial

“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr Elisabeth Adams on our costing project for HIV home delivery of drugs. I have also worked with her on research related to the POPI study of chlamydia screening.

She has a very professional and thorough approach to her work, and is good at delivering to timelines. I can recommend her as a partner for future work.”

  • Dr Phillip Hay, Reader and Honorary Consultant, Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, St. George’s Hospital, London

 

Related publications

publication_iconAdams EJ, Ogden D, Ehrlich A, Hay P. Treatment for stable HIV patients in England: can we save costs and improve patient care? Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. Published online 29 Oct 2013, doi:10.1177/1355819613508176

Please contact us to request a version of the tool.