Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of anterior uveitis investigation by Canadian ophthalmologists Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of anterior uveitis investigation by Canadian ophthalmologists and to assess the role of implementing national clinical guidelines for such investigation. METHODS: Based on data extracted from the Canadian National Uveitis Survey (CNUS, 2007 version), the cost of investigating a patient with anterior uveitis, according to current practice patterns of Canadian ophthalmologists, was determined and grouped across 4 clinical scenarios: (i) nongranulomatous anterior uveitis in an adult, (ii) granulomatous anterior uveitis in an adult, (iii) granulomatous anterior uveitis with suspected sarcoidosis in an adult or a child, and (iv) nongranulomatous anterior uveitis in a child. Similarly, the cost of investigating a patient with anterior uveitis as per published evidence-based guidelines was determined and compared with the current practice pattern using a cost-minimization model, sensitivity analyses, and Monte Carlo simulations. RESULTS: Ophthalmologists were found to consistently order more tests than recommended by evidence-based guidelines, across each of the scenarios studied (p < 0.05). Overall, complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, antinuclear antibody, and rheumatoid factor were the most commonly ordered extraneous tests that were not included in the evidence-based guidelines for the routine investigation of anterior uveitis. Also, there were significant differences in the cost of investigating a patient with anterior uveitis when compared with those predicted by adhering to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Cost minimization and sensitivity analyses revealed that published guidelines imparted cost savings when compared with current practice patterns across the 4 clinical scenarios studied (p < 0.01). The maximum additional cost was associated with investigating nongranulomatous anterior uveitis in an adult, where a minimal additional cost of $75 per patient was spent. For granulomatous anterior uveitis in an adult, the additional cost was approximately $40, whereas the additional cost for investigating an adult or a child with suspected sarcoidosis was $36. Only $11 of additional cost was spent in the workup of a child with nongranulomatous anterior uveitis. When applied to the Canadian population, adherence to the Clinical Practice Guidelines recommended by the CNUS may result in cost savings of $600,000 per year to the Canadian health care system. INTERPRETATION: Adherence to the evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines recommended by the CNUS may result in significant cost savings, with virtually no loss of sensitivity in the routine investigation of anterior uveitis in Canada.

authors

  • Noble, Jason
  • Hollands, Hussein
  • Forooghian, Farzin
  • Yazdani, Arash
  • Sharma, Sanjay
  • Wong, David
  • Derzko-Dzulynsky, Larissa

publication date

  • December 2008