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Economic analysis of the randomised assessment of treatment using panel assay of cardiac markers trial
  1. Steve Goodacre

Abstract

Background The randomised Assessment of Treatment using Panel Assay of Cardiac markers (RATPAC) trial showed that diagnostic assessment with a point-of-care biomarker panel increased successful discharges among patients presenting to hospital with acute chest pain. We aimed to determine whether point-of-care panel assessment reduced healthcare costs and whether it was likely to be cost-effective.

Methods Economic analysis was undertaken using individual patient resource use data from the RATPAC trial (n=2263) and health utility measured on the EQ-5D at one and 3 months. Resource use was valued using national unit costs. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were calculated from EQ-5D scores using the trapezium rule. Mean costs and QALYs accrued after point-of-care and standard care were compared and cost-effectiveness estimated in terms of probability of dominance and incremental cost per QALY.

Results Point-of-care panel assessment was associated with higher emergency department costs, coronary care costs and cardiac intervention costs, but lower general inpatient costs. Mean costs per patient were £1217 with point-of-care versus £1006 with standard care (p=0.047), while mean QALYs were 0.158 versus 0.161 (p=0.250). The probability of standard care being dominant (ie, cheaper and more effective) was 0.888, while the probability of the point-of-care panel being dominant was 0.004. These probabilities were not markedly altered by sensitivity analysis varying the costs of the point-of-care panel and excluding intensive care costs.

Conclusion Point-of-care panel assessment does not reduce costs despite reducing admissions and may even increase costs. It is unlikely to be considered a cost-effective use of national healthcare resources.

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