Rapid testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections improve patient care and yield public health benefits

With collaborators at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, we estimated the impact of a rapid testing and result notification service for patients testing for sexually transmitted infections at the Dean Street Express clinic. We found that a rapid testing service for asymptomatic infections resulted in 8 days’ faster time to result notification for CT and/or NG which enables faster treatment, thus reducing infectious periods and leading to fewer transmissions, unnecessary partner attendances and clinic costs, compared with those attending an existing ‘standard’ sexual health clinic.

PublicationGary G Whitlock, Daniel C Gibbons, Nick Longford, Michael J Harvey, Alan McOwan, Elisabeth J Adams Rapid testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections improve patient care and yield public health benefits
International Journal of STD & AIDS. First Published October 23, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1177/0956462417736431

 

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Cost-effectiveness of antimicrobial resistance point-of-care testing for optimising gonorrhoea treatment

In July, Emma Harding-Esch spoke at the STI and HIV World Congress in Rio on how to best manage the increasing challenge of anti-microbial resistance (AMR). The research she presented was a collaboration between Aquarius Population Health and ADREU St. Georges.  In recent years, there has been an increase in resistance to first-line therapies used to treat STIs such as gonorrhoea. The Aquarius team built a decision tree model to assess the cost-effectiveness of standard care compared to several hypothetical rapid point-of-care tests (POCT) for antibiotic susceptibility. The model simulated a cohort of sexual health clinic attendees. The results showed that while standard care is the cheapest option, AMR POCTs may be cost-effective and maximise the number of effective agents in treatment regimens, providing long-term benefits in some scenarios.

Harding-Esch EM, Huntington SE, Harvey MJ, et al. Cost-effectiveness of antimicrobial resistance point-of-care testing for optimising the treatment of gonorrhoea STI & HIV World Congress. 9-12 July 2017. Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

 

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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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Modelling how point-of-care tests can enable personalised treatment for resistant gonorrhoea infections

We created a mathematical model to investigate the treatment impact and economic implications of introducing an antimicrobial resistance point-of-care test (AMR POCT) for gonorrhoea as a way of extending the life of current last-line treatments. The introduction of AMR POCT could allow clinicians to discern between the majority of gonorrhoea-positive patients with strains that could be treated with older, previously abandoned first-line treatments, and those requiring our current last-line dual therapy. Such tests could extend the useful life of dual ceftriaxone and azithromycin therapy, thus pushing back the time when gonorrhoea may become untreatable.

Publication

Turner KM, Christensen H, Adams EJ, et al Analysis of the potential for point-of-care test to enable individualised treatment of infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant and susceptible strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: a modelling study

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Cervical screening and HPV testing: Opportunities for rapid tests

Problem:  Our client Cepheid has developed a rapid HPV PCR test that can be used as a point-of-care test (POCT). They wanted to understand where in the cervical cancer screening and treatment pathway the test would be most beneficial to patients and the healthcare system. This comes during a time of uncertainty about how best to screen women, and how to organise laboratory services around screening. It is also unclear how screening may differ across Europe and the burden of cervical disease.

 Approach:  We conducted a literature review of the evidence about the current national cervical screening programme in the UK. Then, we conducted 25 semi-structured interviews with key opinion leaders across the UK to gain additional insight about the pathway and the opportunities for using a POCT in the screening pathway. Results also contributed to a European tool to understand cervical cancer diagnosis and burden.

 Impact:  We have presented our findings at international conferences (EUROGIN 2015, IPC 2015), and results have helped our client as they communicate the opportunities and value of a POCT for HPV to their stakeholders and customers. We have engaged with the international community on the requirements for the creation of a standardised international cervical cancer data repository, to inform better evidence-based decision making.

 

Testimonial

“While perfectly responding to the originally given mission, the Aquarius team painted a comprehensive picture of how healthcare is really delivered currently in Europe. This opened up our minds to new ways of improving patient care. The Aquarius team under Elisabeth’s leadership is highly professional, very creative and great fun to work with, without ever taking short cuts. I cannot imagine better results for us.”

  • Dr Anne Postulka, Senior Director Medical & Economic Value, Cepheid

 

Related publications

presentation_iconAdams EJ, Glover R, Vecino A, Postulka A. Exploring the value of a rapid, on-demand test for the detection of human papillomavirus. 30th International Papillomavirus Conference. Lisbon, Portugal. September 17 -21, 2015.

 

presentation_iconAdams EJ, Glover R, Vecino A, Postulka A. How can European countries improve cervical cancer prevention for women? 30th International Papillomavirus Conference. Lisbon, Portugal. September 17 -21, 2015.

The cost of pelvic inflammatory disease and potential cost-savings of chlamydia screening

Problem: The POPI trial was a randomised control trial in South London estimating the incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and the potential impact of screening for chlamydial infection on preventing PID. The study group wanted to know the costs to the health care system of managing PID, and what cost savings could be made through chlamydia screening.

Approach: We worked with the study team to define the question based on the data they had already collected during the trial, and then developed a strategy to answer it. This involved extracting data from patient notes and building a simple model in Excel to estimate the costs of care for women with PID. National costs were applied to local data, and we scaled up the results to estimate the potential cost savings, both locally and nationally.

 Impact: This work provided estimates of the cost of managing PID, which are useful to groups exploring the impact of delivering care to these patients and also for those wishing to explore the impact of interventions to avoid PID such as chlamydia screening. The results were published in Sexually Transmitted Infections, and has been cited many times in prestigious journals and authoritative reports and used in two modelling studies.

 

Testimonial

“Dr Adams is an excellent health economist, very clear thinking and easy to work with. She has original ideas and delivers on time. She designed the cost analysis for our trial, supervised the research assistant who assembled the relevant data and enabled publication in a high ranking journal.”

  • Dr Pippa Oakeshott, Professor of General Medicine, St Georges University

 

Related publications

publication_iconAghaizu A, Adams EJ, Turner KME, et al. What is the cost of pelvic inflammatory disease and how much could be prevented by screening for Chlamydia trachomatis? Cost analysis of the POPI (prevention of pelvic infection) trial. Sex Transm Infect 2011; 87:312-317.

How can European countries improve cervical cancer prevention for women?

We conducted a literature review on cervical cancer incidence, screening algorithms and coverage across Europe. Data on the structure and provision of screening programmes are sparse, with large heterogeneity reported by sources. A lack of comparable data across countries makes it challenging for researchers and policy-makers to assess screening effectiveness and what is most beneficial for women. A central data repository could facilitate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analyses to support the adoption of the best screening algorithm.

presentation_iconAdams EJ, Glover R, Vecino A, Postulka A. How can European countries improve cervical cancer prevention for women? 30th International Papillomavirus Conference. Lisbon, Portugal. September 17 -21, 2015.

 

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Exploring the value of a rapid, on-demand test for the detection of human papillomavirus

We explored the use of a rapid, on-demand human papillomavirus (HPV) test as part of a cervical screening programme. Through semi-structured interviews with experts from across the UK, we found that a co-located, laboratory-based, and on-demand HPV test following cytology could reduce the time to results by up to a week, whilst a near-patient test under primary HPV screening followed by cytology triage could radically change the testing paradigm, with most women notified the same day.

presentation_iconAdams EJ, Glover R, Vecino A, Postulka A. Exploring the value of a rapid, on-demand test for the detection of human papillomavirus. 30th International Papillomavirus Conference. Lisbon, Portugal. September 17 -21, 2015.

 

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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

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