Guideline adherence is worth the effort: a cost-effectiveness analysis in intrauterine insemination care
SourceHuman Reproduction, 28, 2, (2013), pp. 357-366
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Epidemiology, Biostatistics & HTA
SubjectNCEBP 12: Human Reproduction; NCEBP 2:Evaluation of complex medical interventions ONCOL 4:Quality of Care; NCEBP 3: Implementation Science; NCEBP 4: Quality of hospital and integrated care ONCOL 4: Quality of Care; NCEBP 6: Quality of nursing and allied health care; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health; NCEBP 12: Human Reproduction; NCEBP 3: Implementation Science; NCEBP 6: Quality of nursing and allied health care
STUDY QUESTION: Is optimal adherence to guideline recommendations in intrauterine insemination (IUI) care cost-effective from a societal perspective when compared with suboptimal adherence to guideline recommendations? SUMMARY ANSWER: Optimal guideline adherence in IUI care has substantial economic benefits when compared with suboptimal guideline adherence. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Fertility guidelines are tools to help health-care professionals, and patients make better decisions about clinically effective, safe and cost-effective care. Up to now, there has been limited published evidence about the association between guideline adherence and cost-effectiveness in fertility care. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: In a retrospective cohort study involving medical record analysis and a patient survey (n = 415), interviews with staff members (n = 13) and a review of hospitals' financial department reports and literature, data were obtained about patient characteristics, process aspects and clinical outcomes of IUI care and resources consumed. In the cost-effectiveness analyses, restricted to four relevant guideline recommendations, the ongoing pregnancy rate per couple (effectiveness), the average medical and non-medical costs of IUI care, possible additional IVF treatment, pregnancy, delivery and period from birth up to 6 weeks after birth for both mother and offspring per couple (costs) and the incremental net monetary benefits were calculated to investigate if optimal guideline adherence is cost-effective from a societal perspective when compared with suboptimal guideline adherence. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Seven hundred and sixty five of 1100 randomly selected infertile couples from the databases of the fertility laboratories of 10 Dutch hospitals, including 1 large university hospital providing tertiary care and 9 public hospitals providing secondary care, were willing to participate, but 350 couples were excluded because of ovulatory disorders or the use of donated spermatozoa (n = 184), still ongoing IUI treatment (n = 143) or no access to their medical records (n = 23). As a result, 415 infertile couples who started a total of 1803 IUI cycles were eligible for the cost-effectiveness analyses. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Optimal adherence to the guideline recommendations about sperm quality, the total number of IUI cycles and dose of human chorionic gonadotrophin was cost-effective with an incremental net monetary benefit between euro 645 and over euro 7500 per couple, depending on the recommendation and assuming a willingness to pay euro 20 000 for an ongoing pregnancy. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Because not all recommendations applied to all 415 included couples, smaller groups were left for some of the cost-effectiveness analyses, and one integrated analysis with all recommendations within one model was impossible. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Optimal guideline adherence in IUI care has substantial economic benefits when compared with suboptimal guideline adherence. For Europe, where over 144,000 IUI cycles are initiated each year to treat approximately 32 000 infertile couples, this could mean a possible cost saving of at least 20 million euro yearly. Therefore, it is valuable to make an effort to improve guideline development and implementation.
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