Cost-effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging of the knee for patients presenting in primary care

Coulton, Simon (2008) Cost-effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging of the knee for patients presenting in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 58 (556). e10-e17. ISSN 0960-1643. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal problems generate high costs. Of these disorders, patients with knee problems are commonly seen by GPs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the knee is an accurate diagnostic test, but there is uncertainty as to whether GP access to MRI for these patients is a cost-effective policy. AIM: To investigate the cost-effectiveness of GP referral to early MRI and a provisional orthopaedic appointment, compared with referral to an orthopaedic specialist without prior MRI for patients with continuing knee problems. Design of study: Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a pragmatic randomised trial. SETTING: Five-hundred and thirty-three patients consulting their GP about a knee problem were recruited from 163 general practices at 11 sites across the UK. METHOD: Two-year costs were estimated from the NHS perspective. Health outcomes were expressed in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), based on patient responses to the EQ-5D questionnaire administered at baseline, and at 6, 12, and 24 months' follow-up. RESULTS: Early MRI is associated with a higher NHS cost, by pound 294 ($581; euro 435) per patient (95% confidence interval [CI] = pound 31 to pound 573), and a larger number of QALYs, by 0.05 (95% CI = 0.025 to 0.118). Mean differences in cost and QALYs generated an incremental cost per QALY gained of pound 5840 ($11,538; euro 8642). At a cost per QALY threshold of pound 20,000, there is a 0.81 probability that early MRI is a cost-effective use of NHS resources. CONCLUSION: GP access to MRI for patients presenting in primary care with a continuing knee problem represents a cost-effective use of health service resources.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Times Cited: 0
Uncontrolled keywords: cost–benefit analysis; family practice; knee injuries; magnetic resonance imaging.
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R729 Types of medical practice > R729.5.G4 General practice
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Simon Coulton
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2009 11:15
Last Modified: 15 May 2014 11:27
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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