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Estimating the cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention programmes to prevent diabetes based on an example from Germany: Markov modelling
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1633-2179
2011 (English)In: Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, ISSN 1478-7547, E-ISSN 1478-7547, Vol. 9, no 1, 17Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) poses a large worldwide burden for health care systems. One possible tool to decrease this burden is primary prevention. As it is unethical to wait until perfect data are available to conclude whether T2D primary prevention intervention programmes are cost-effective, we need a model that simulates the effect of prevention initiatives. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate the long-term cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention programmes for the prevention of T2D using a Markov model. As decision makers often face difficulties in applying health economic results, we visualise our results with health economic tools.

METHODS: We use four-state Markov modelling with a probabilistic cohort analysis to calculate the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. A one-year cycle length and a lifetime time horizon are applied. Best available evidence supplies the model with data on transition probabilities between glycaemic states, mortality risks, utility weights, and disease costs. The costs are calculated from a societal perspective. A 3% discount rate is used for costs and QALYs. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves are presented to assist decision makers.

RESULTS: The model indicates that diabetes prevention interventions have the potential to be cost-effective, but the outcome reveals a high level of uncertainty. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were negative for the intervention, ie, the intervention leads to a cost reduction for men and women aged 30 or 50 years at initiation of the intervention. For men and women aged 70 at initiation of the intervention, the ICER was EUR27,546/QALY gained and EUR19,433/QALY gained, respectively. In all cases, the QALYs gained were low. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves show that the higher the willingness-to-pay threshold value, the higher the probability that the intervention is cost-effective. Nonetheless, all curves are flat. The threshold value of EUR50,000/QALY gained has a 30-55% probability that the intervention is cost-effective.

CONCLUSIONS: Lifestyle interventions for primary prevention of type 2 diabetes are cost-saving for men and women aged 30 or 50 years at the start of the intervention, and cost-effective for men and women aged 70 years. However, there is a high degree of uncertainty around the ICERs. With the conservative approach adopted for this model, the long-term effectiveness of the intervention could be underestimated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2011. Vol. 9, no 1, 17
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-57584DOI: 10.1186/1478-7547-9-17PubMedID: 22099547OAI: diva2:543366
Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2016-07-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Prevention of type 2 diabetes: modeling the cost-effectiveness of diabetes prevention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prevention of type 2 diabetes: modeling the cost-effectiveness of diabetes prevention
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Diabetes is a common and costly disease that is expected to continue even to grow in prevalence and health expenditures over the coming decades. Type 2 diabetes is the most common diabetes type and is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes develops over a long period and is often undetected over years. During this time, people almost always first develop any of the pre-diabetic states, i.e. impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or a combination of both (IFG&IGT). This thesis focuses on type 2 diabetes only. In the following, the term diabetes is used to refer to type 2 diabetes only. Diabetes is associated with a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. While those are not the only factors contributing to the development and maintenance of diabetes, several studies have shown that prevention of diabetes among individuals at high risk through lifestyle change is possible, effective and cost-effective, especially targeting diet and exercise to reduce weight. No previous study had, however, estimated the cost-effectiveness of diabetes prevention strategies from a population-based perspective including healthy individuals and also considered IFG and IGT as two distinct pre-diabetic states.

Objective: The overall objective of this thesis was to establish, describe and evaluate a model that can assess the cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention programs to prevent diabetes.

Methods: First, a Markov Model was established using data from the literature. The cost of a German diabetes prevention program was estimated. Second, risk equations for change to worsened glucose states were estimated using factor analysis and logistic regression based on consecutive data from the Västerbotten Intervention Program (VIP). The risk equations described transition probabilities in the final model and were based on several risk factors such as age, sex, physical activity and smoking status. Third, information on the Short-Form 36 questionnaire from the VIP population was transformed into Short-Form 6D. Health utility weights (HUW) by glucose group and four risk factors were estimated using beta regression. Fourth, an updated Markov model was established using an updated model structure compared to the one in Paper I, program costs of Paper I, risk equations of Paper II, health utility weights of Paper III and updated cost and mortality estimates.

Results: The first model in Paper I showed that lifestyle intervention programs have the potential to be cost-effective with a high degree of uncertainty. The risk equations in Paper II indicated that the impact of each risk factor depended on the starting and ending pre-diabetes state, where high levels of triglyceride, hypertension, and high body mass index were the strongest risk factors to transit to a worsened glucose state. The overall mean HUW in Paper III was 0.764 with healthy individuals having the highest HUW, those with diabetes the lowest and those in pre-diabetic states ranging in between. The intervention described in Paper IV was cost-effective for all sex and age scenarios ranging from 3,833 EUR/QALY gained (women, 30 years) to 9,215 EUR/QALY gained (men, 70 years). The probability that the intervention is cost-effective was high (85.0-91.1%).

Conclusion: We established a model that can estimate the cost-effectiveness of different scenarios of initiatives to prevent diabetes. The prevention or the delay of the onset of diabetes is feasible and cost-effective. A small investment in a healthy lifestyle with the change in physical activity and diet together with weight loss can have a decent, cost-effective result. The full range of possibilities this model offers has not been evaluated so far. We have, however, shown that implementing a lifestyle intervention program like the Västerbotten Intervention Programme would be cost-effective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2016. 69 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1821
type 2 diabetes mellitus, prevention, health economics, Markov modeling, risk equations, health-related quality of life, lifestyle modification, pre-diabetic states, cost-effectiveness, Västerbotten Intervention Programme
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-123553 (URN)978-91-7601-517-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-02, sal 135, Allmänmedicin, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-08-15 Created: 2016-07-05 Last updated: 2016-08-18Bibliographically approved

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