OBJECTIVE: To perform a cost-minimization analysis of three conservative treatment regimes for acute low-back pain (LBP). DESIGN: A prospective randomized clinical trial. Patients were assigned at random to one of three treatment programmes: General Practitioner Programme (GPP-) controls, Manual Therapy Programme (MTP) or Intensive Training Programme (ITP). SETTING: Primary care and physiotherapists in Stockholm, Sweden. PATIENTS: 180 patients sick-listed for acute LBP. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Direct, indirect and total costs for three treatment programmes. RESULTS: The direct costs for treatment were lowest in the GPP group -- 2744 Swedish crowns (SEK) per patient. More patients in the MTP and ITP underwent operations for disk hernia and radiological investigations than in the GPP. Indirect costs, defined as sick-leave for LBP represent about 90% of the total cost. CONCLUSIONS: With respect to total costs, the findings were similar between the three treatment programmes. The GPP had the lowest direct costs. It is not possible to conclude which treatment programme is to be recommended as a least cost alternative. The strong effect of indirect costs on the total cost stresses that further studies should focus on methods of shortening sick-leave.
In connection with the publication of a clinical practice guideline on the management of low back pain (LBP) in general practice in Denmark, a cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted. In this trial, a multifaceted guideline implementation strategy to improve general practitioners' treatment of patients with LBP was compared with a usual implementation strategy. The aim was to determine whether the multifaceted strategy was cost effective, as compared with the usual implementation strategy. The economic evaluation was conducted as a cost-utility analysis where cost collected from a societal perspective and quality-adjusted life years were used as outcome measures. The analysis was conducted as a within-trial analysis with a 12-month time horizon consistent with the follow-up period of the clinical trial. To adjust for a priori selected covariates, generalised linear models with a gamma family were used to estimate incremental costs and quality-adjusted life years. Furthermore, both deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted. Results showed that costs associated with primary health care were higher, whereas secondary health care costs were lower for the intervention group when compared with the control group. When adjusting for covariates, the intervention was less costly, and there was no significant difference in effect between the 2 groups. Sensitivity analyses showed that results were sensitive to uncertainty. In conclusion, the multifaceted implementation strategy was cost saving when compared with the usual strategy for implementing LBP clinical practice guidelines in general practice. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in effect, and the estimate was sensitive to uncertainty.
To investigate the effectiveness and costs of a mini-intervention, provided in addition to the usual care, and the incremental effect of a work site visit for patients with subacute disabling low back pain.
There is lack of data on cost-effectiveness of brief interventions for patients with prolonged low back pain.
A total of 164 patients with subacute low back pain were randomized to a mini-intervention group (A), a work site visit group (B), or a usual care group (C). Groups A (n = 56) and B (n = 51) underwent one assessment by a physician plus a physiotherapist. Group B received a work site visit in addition. Group C served as controls (n = 57) and was treated in municipal primary health care. All patients received a leaflet on back pain. Pain, disability, specific and generic health-related quality of life, satisfaction with care, days on sick leave, and use and costs of health care consumption were measured at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups.
During follow-up, fewer subjects had daily pain in Groups A and B than in Group C (Group A Group C, = 0.002; Group B Group C, = 0.030). In Group A, pain was less bothersome (Group A Group C, = 0.032) and interfered less with daily life (Group A Group C, = 0.040) than among controls. Average days on sick leave were 19 in Group A, 28 in Group B, and 41 in Group C (Group A Group C, = 0.019). Treatment satisfaction was better in the intervention groups than among the controls, and costs were lowest in the mini-intervention group.
Mini-intervention reduced daily back pain symptoms and sickness absence, improved adaptation to pain and patient satisfaction among patients with subacute low back pain, without increasing health care costs. A work site visit did not increase effectiveness.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat low-back pain (LBP) and clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy. However, less is known about how the utilization of acupuncture impacts public health service utilization in the real world. This study investigates the association between acupuncture utilization for LBP and health care utilization by assessing whether patients who undergo acupuncture subsequently use fewer health care resources and whether those patients differ in their health care use from the general population with LBP.
This study employed the design of a two-group pre/post secondary data analysis.
There were two study populations. To identify patients who received acupuncture for LBP in 2000, patient charts at Alberta registered acupuncture clinics were reviewed. The comparison group was identified from the Alberta physician claims administrative database. Acupuncture group cases were matched with four comparison cases from the general population with LBP based on gender and age.
Number of physician visits and physician service cost for LBP-related services for 1 year pre- and postacupuncture treatment period were calculated from the physician claims data for both study groups.
For the 201 cases and 804 controls, the mean age was 48 years and 54% were female. The number of physician visits for the 1-year period postacupuncture decreased 49% for the acupuncture group (p
A cluster-randomized controlled trial, WorkUp, was conducted for working-aged patients at risk of sick leave or on short-term sick leave due to acute/subacute neck and/or back pain in Sweden. The purpose of WorkUp was to facilitate participants to stay at work or in case of sick leave, return-to-work. The aim of this study was to study whether the WorkUp trial was cost-effective. Patients in the intervention and reference group received structured evidence-based physiotherapy, while patients in the intervention group also received a work place dialogue with the employer as an add-on. The participants, 352 in total, were recruited from 20 physiotherapeutic units in primary healthcare in southern Sweden. The economic evaluation was performed both from a healthcare and a societal perspective with a 12-month time frame with extensive univariate sensitivity analyses. Results were presented as incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) with outcomes measured as quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) and proportion working for at least 4 weeks in a row without reported sick leave at 12-month follow-up. From the healthcare perspective, the ICER was €23,606 (2013 price year) per QALY gain. From the societal perspective the intervention was dominating, i.e.. less costly and more effective than reference care. Bootstrap analysis showed that the probability of the intervention to be cost-effective at €50,000 willingness-to-pay per QALY was 85% from the societal perspective. Structured evidence-based physiotherapeutic care together with workplace dialogue is a cost-effective alternative from both a societal and a healthcare perspective for acute/subacute neck and/or back pain patients.Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02609750.