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Gastroenterologist and nurse management of symptoms after pelvic radiotherapy for cancer: an economic evaluation of a clinical randomized controlled trial (the ORBIT study)

Authors Jordan J, Gage H, Benton B, Lalji A, Norton C, Andreyev HJN

Received 11 September 2016

Accepted for publication 15 November 2016

Published 28 April 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 241—249


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Jake Jordan,1 Heather Gage,1 Barbara Benton,2 Amyn Lalji,2 Christine Norton,3 H Jervoise N Andreyev2

1Surrey Health Economics Centre, School of Economics, University of Surrey, Guildford, 2Gastrointestinal Unit, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, 3Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College, London, UK

Background: Over 20 distressing gastrointestinal symptoms affect many patients after pelvic radiotherapy, but in the United Kingdom few are referred for assessment. Algorithmic-based treatment delivered by either a consultant gastroenterologist or a clinical nurse specialist has been shown in a randomized trial to be statistically and clinically more effective than provision of a self-help booklet. In this study, we assessed cost-effectiveness.
Methods: Outcomes were measured at baseline (pre-randomization) and 6 months. Change in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) was the primary outcome for the economic evaluation; a secondary analysis used change in the bowel subset score of the modified Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ-B). Intervention costs, British pounds 2013, covered visits with the gastroenterologist or nurse, investigations, medications and treatments. Incremental outcomes and incremental costs were estimated simultaneously using multivariate linear regression. Uncertainty was handled non-parametrically using bootstrap with replacement.
Results: The mean (SD) cost of treatment was £895 (499) for the nurse and £1101 (567) for the consultant. The nurse was dominated by usual care, which was cheaper and achieved better outcomes. The mean cost per QALY gained from the consultant, compared to usual care, was £250,455; comparing the consultant to the nurse, it was £25,875. Algorithmic care produced better outcomes compared to the booklet only, as reflected in the IBDQ-B results, at a cost of ~£1,000.
Conclusion: Algorithmic treatment of radiation bowel injury by a consultant or a nurse results in significant symptom relief for patients but was not found to be cost-effective according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) criteria.

Keywords: pelvic radiotherapy, algorithmic care, gastroenterologist, clinical nurse specialist

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