Information about the cost-effectiveness of early intervention programmes for first-episode psychosis is limited.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an intensive early-intervention programme (called OPUS) (trial registration NCT00157313) consisting of enriched assertive community treatment, psychoeducational family treatment and social skills training for individuals with first-episode psychosis compared with standard treatment.
An incremental cost-effectiveness analysis of a randomised controlled trial, adopting a public sector perspective was undertaken.
The mean total costs of OPUS over 5 years (€123,683, s.e. = 8970) were not significantly different from that of standard treatment (€148,751, s.e. = 13073). At 2-year follow-up the mean Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score in the OPUS group (55.16, s.d. = 15.15) was significantly higher than in standard treatment group (51.13, s.d. = 15.92). However, the mean GAF did not differ significantly between the groups at 5-year follow-up (55.35 (s.d. = 18.28) and 54.16 (s.d. = 18.41), respectively). Cost-effectiveness planes based on non-parametric bootstrapping showed that OPUS was less costly and more effective in 70% of the replications. For a willingness-to-pay up to €50,000 the probability that OPUS was cost-effective was more than 80%.
The incremental cost-effectiveness analysis showed that there was a high probability of OPUS being cost-effective compared with standard treatment.
Ensuring the financial security of individuals recovering from first episode psychosis is imperative, but disability income programs can be powerful disincentives to employment, compromising the social and occupational aspects of recovery. Survival analysis and Cox regression analysis were used to examine the rate at which individuals served by early intervention for psychosis (EIP) services apply for government disability income benefits and factors that predict rate of application. Health records for 558 individuals served by EIP programs were reviewed. Within the first year of receiving services 30% will make application for disability income; 60% will do so by 5 years. Rate of application is predicted by rate of hospital admission, financial status and engagement in productivity roles at the time of entry to EIP service. The findings suggest the need to examine the extent to which the recovery goals of EI services are undermined by early application for government income support. They also suggest the need to develop best practice guidelines related to ensuring the economic security of individuals served.