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Cost-effectiveness of pulse-echo ultrasonometry in osteoporosis management

Authors Soini E, Riekkinen O, Kroger H, Mankinen P, Hallinen T, Karjalainen JP

Received 20 January 2018

Accepted for publication 21 March 2018

Published 29 May 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 279—292


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Samer Hamidi

Erkki Soini,1 Ossi Riekkinen,2 Heikki Kröger,3,4 Petri Mankinen,1 Taru Hallinen,1 Janne P Karjalainen2

1ESiOR Oy, Kuopio, Finland; 2Bone Index, Kuopio, Finland; 3Kuopio Musculoskeletal Research Unit, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland; 4Department of Orthopedics, Traumatology and Hand Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland

Purpose: Osteoporosis is asymptomatic morbidity of the elderly which develops slowly over several years. Osteoporosis diagnosis has typically involved Fracture Risk Assessment (FRAX) followed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in specialist care. Point-of-care pulse-echo ultrasound (PEUS) was developed to overcome DXA-related access issues and to enable faster fracture prevention treatment (FPT) initiation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of two proposed osteoporosis management (POMs: FRAX→PEUS-if-needed→DXA-if-needed→FPT-if-needed) pathways including PEUS compared with the current osteoporosis management (FRAX→DXA-if-needed→FPT-if-needed).
Materials and methods: Event-based probabilistic cost–utility model with 10-year duration for osteoporosis management was developed. The model consists of a decision tree for the screening, testing, and diagnosis phase and is followed by a Markov model for the estimation of incidence of four fracture types and mortality. Five clinically relevant patient cohorts (potential primary FPT in women aged 75 or 85 years, secondary FPT in women aged 65, 75, or 85 years) were modeled in the Finnish setting. Generic alendronate FPT was used for those diagnosed with osteoporosis, including persistence overtime. Discounted (3%/year) incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was the primary outcome. Discounted quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), payer costs (year 2016 value) at per patient and population level, and cost-effectiveness acceptability frontiers were modeled as secondary outcomes.
Results: POMs were cost-effective in all patient subgroups with noteworthy mean per patient cost savings of €121/76 (ranges €107–132/52–96) depending on the scope of PEUS result interpretation (test and diagnose/test only, respectively) and negligible differences in QALYs gained in comparison with current osteoporosis management. In the cost-effectiveness acceptability frontiers, POMs had 95%–100% probability of cost-effectiveness with willingness to pay €24,406/QALY gained. The results were robust in sensitivity analyses. Even when assuming a high cost of PEUS (up to €110/test), POMs were cost-effective in all cohorts.
Conclusion: The inclusion of PEUS to osteoporosis management pathway was cost-effective.

Keywords: diagnostics, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, economic evaluation, Fracture Risk Assessment tool, PICOSTEPS, screening

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