Cost analysis of near patient chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening and treatment in further education/technical colleges

Aquarius collaborated with St George’s University of London on an NIHR-funded study, ‘Test n Treat’ (TnT). In this cluster randomised feasibility trial, rapid chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhoea (NG) testing and same day on-site chlamydia treatment in six technical colleges in South London was delivered. 

Using process data from the trial (the main results of which were published last year) and NHS cost data, the overall cost of providing the TnT service was calculated, as well as the cost per CT/NG screen and the cost per CT/NG infection diagnosed. These took into account the fixed daily costs, such as staff time and equipment use, and the per screen costs, i.e. the consumables used to collect and test samples, and were dependent on uptake of screening. Since the average cost per screen was higher if uptake was low as per what was observed in the trial, and lower if uptake was high, costs for a range of update scenarios were assessed. If daily capacity for screening was achieved (calculated as 49 screens/day), the cost per screen was £47 (including the £10 incentive given to students to encourage participation). This increased to £91, if uptake was equivalent to the average uptake observed on the trial (19 screens/day). The paper concluded that delivering this type of service is more expensive per person than CT and NG screening in sexual health clinics but could be more comparable in areas of high CT/NG prevalence.

Publication

Kerry-Barnard S, Huntington, S, Fleming C, et al. Near patient chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening and treatment in further education/technical colleges: a cost analysis of the ‘Test n Treat’ feasibility trial. BMC Health Services Research. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-5062-5

Cluster-randomised feasibility trial of a chlamydia test and treat (TnT) service in further education colleges

Aquarius were involved in a recent cluster-randomised feasibility trial looking at whether provision of a same day test and treatment (TnT) service for chlamydia in further education colleges could be used to improve uptake of chlamydia testing in sexually active 16-24 year olds. The trial found that despite a high prevalence of chlamydia among sexually active students at the colleges, uptake of the free confidential TnT service was low. At the three colleges, 13% of students were tested when the service was first offered and 10% when it was offered again three months later. Interviews with students revealed that low uptake was associated with not feeling at risk of a sexually transmitted infection, perceptions of stigma, and lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted infections, while all students interviewed were positive about the TnT service itself.

PublicationOakeshott P, Kerry-Barnard S, Fleming C, et al. “Test n Treat” (TnT): a cluster randomised feasibility trial of on-site rapid Chlamydia trachomatis tests and treatment in ethnically diverse, sexually active teenagers attending technical colleges. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2018.10.019.

Modelling cost-effectiveness of multipathogen POC tests for sexually transmitted infections

In this BMJ Open article, we report on health economic modelling results that compare three possible strategies for point-of-care (POC) sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing with the current practice of microscopy and lab-based testing.  Results showed that testing for STIs with either a dual, triple or quadruple POC test provided more patient benefit than current practice but may cost more. The quadruple POC test was the least expensive POC strategy relative to standard care – with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £36,585 per quality adjusted life years gained, when taking the clinic’s perspective. When taking the commissioners’ perspective, who pay for the services delivered through tariffs, over £26 million in savings could be achieved using the 4-bug test, mainly because patients were treated appropriately on their first testing visit rather than having to re-attend.

 

PublicationHuntington SE, Burns RM, Harding-Esch E, et al.  ‘Modelling-based evaluation of the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of multipathogen point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections in symptomatic genitourinary medicine clinic attendees.’ 

To request a copy of the published article, please email caroline.dombrowski@aquariusph.com.

Three simple tests could save the NHS nearly £6.9 billion

This year marks the 70th birthday of the NHS – a time to celebrate its achievements and the dedicated staff who keep its wheels turning. Yet, there is increasing concern about the future of the NHS, and particularly its funding. In this article, jointly commissioned by the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) and Innovate UK, we showcase three tried and tested in vitro diagnostics, which, if more widely adopted, could save the NHS an estimated £6.9 billion over the next five years.

 

Read Article

 

Test n Treat – rapid STI testing and treatment in colleges: study protocol

Sexually active young people attending London further education (FE) colleges have high rates of chlamydia, but screening rates are low. We describe the study protocol for “Test and Treat” (TnT), an NIHR-funded research study. This is a cluster randomised feasibility trial of frequent, rapid, on-site chlamydia testing using the Cepheid GeneXpert system and same-day treatment in six FE colleges. As part of the study we also conducted qualitative and economic assessments to assess the feasibility of conducting a future large-scale trial to investigate if TnT reduces chlamydia rates. The methods for recruitment, participant data collection, sample collection and testing are described, for baseline and follow-up in the control and intervention groups. The statistical analysis plan for TnT has been published separately.

 

PublicationKerry-Barnard S, Fleming C, Reid F, et al. ‘Test n Treat (TnT)’- Rapid testing and same-day, on-site treatment to reduce rates of chlamydia in sexually active further education college students: study protocol for a cluster randomised feasibility trial. Trials. 2018 Jun 5;19(1):311. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2674-8.

To request a copy of the published article, please email caroline.dombrowski@aquariusph.com.

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 whilst 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.

The benefits and cost-savings of a new point-of-care test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea

Problem: Cepheid’s Xpert® CT/NG test is a high performance point-of-care test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and offers a promising advance in the diagnosis and control of two common sexually transmitted infections. When the test was launched in 2013, Cepheid wanted to understand how sexual health clinics in England might use it and to develop evidence comparing its costs and benefits to standard laboratory tests.

Approach: We approached the challenge in two projects. For the first, we defined the current patient pathways for chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing treatment and compared them to what they would be if a rapid POCT was used. We held workshops with staff in four sexual health clinics, asking them to map out the current patient pathways for chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosis and treatment. We then helped them brainstorm ways in which their services might include a point-of-care chlamydia and gonorrhoea test, and describe how this would change their patient pathways. Finally, we used Dots, our cloud-based pathway builder tool, build to estimate the costs of the pathways. The work indicated that the pathways could be streamlined with a point-of-care test, and we estimated that this would cost less to deliver than current practice.

For the second project, we developed an economic model to compare the overall costs and benefits of a point-of-care test to standard care. We combined the results of our first project with previous work our team had conducted on chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing and management. The model showed that the test could deliver £10million in cost savings, and give far more effective management of chlamydia and gonorrhoea at a population level. Our results were published in Sexually Transmitted Infections, and have been presented at national and international conferences.

Impact: Our work gave Cepheid the empirical evidence to demonstrate the value and potential impact of adopting their test in clinics. Since our projects, Cepheid has had increasing interest in the test, and several centres have purchased it. This includes a major London sexual health clinic which has introduced a new testing service as a result.

 

Testimonial

“I started working with Aquarius in 2012. Elisabeth and her team have always delivered great results, including 2 peer-reviewed publications, that add real value and insight, and they come up with creative ways to answer our questions. I enjoy collaborating with them and look forward to continuing our work on a range of disease areas in the future.”

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

 

Related publications

publication_iconAdams EJ, Ehrlich A, Turner KME, et al. Mapping patient pathways and estimating resource use for point of care versus standard testing and treatment of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in genitourinary medicine clinics in the UK. BMJ Open 2014;4: e005322. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005322

publication_iconTurner KME, Round J, Horner PJ, et. al. What are the clinical and economic costs and benefits of implementing point of care NAAT tests for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in genitourinary medicine clinics in England? Sex Transm Infect. Published online 22 Nov 2013: doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051147

Featured article: Read the Clinical Services Journal about this work.