BACKGROUND: We conducted a wait-list control randomised trial of an outpatient rehabilitation service for people living with and beyond cancer, delivered in a hospice day care unit. We report the results of an economic evaluation undertaken using the trial data.
METHODS: Forty-one participants were recruited into the study. A within-trial stochastic cost-utility analysis was undertaken using Monte-Carlo simulation. The outcome measure for the economic evaluation was quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Costs were measured from the perspective of the NHS and personal social services. Uncertainty in the observed data was captured through probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Scenario analysis was conducted to explore the effects of changing the way QALYs were estimated and adjusting for baseline difference in the population. We also explore assumptions about the length of treatment benefit being maintained.
RESULTS: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for the base-case analysis was £14,231 per QALY. When QALYs were assumed to change linearly over time, this increased to £20,514 per QALY at three months. Adjusting the estimate of QALYs to account for differences in the population at baseline increased the ICER to £94,748 per QALY at three months. Increasing the assumed length of treatment benefit led to reduced ICERs in all scenarios.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the intervention is likely to be cost-effective in some circumstances, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the decision to implement the service. Further research, informed by a formal value of information analysis, would reduce this uncertainty.