Cost-utility analysis of osteopathy in primary care: results from a pragmatic randomized controlled trial

Nefyn H Williams, Rhiannon T Edwards, Pat Linck, Rachel Muntz, Richard Hibbs, Clare Wilkinson, Ian Russell, Daphne Russell, Barry Hounsome
Family Practice 2004, 21 (6): 643-50

BACKGROUND: Spinal pain is common and costly to health services and society. Management guidelines have encouraged primary care referral for spinal manipulation, but the evidence base is weak. More economic evaluations alongside pragmatic trials have been recommended.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to assess the cost-utility of a practice-based osteopathy clinic for subacute spinal pain.

METHODS: A cost-utility analysis was performed alongside a pragmatic single-centre randomized controlled trial in a primary care osteopathy clinic accepting referrals from 14 neighbouring practices in North West Wales. Patients with back pain of 2-12 weeks duration were randomly allocated to treatment with osteopathy plus usual GP care or usual GP care alone. Costs were measured from a National Health Service (NHS) perspective. All primary and secondary health care interventions recorded in GP notes were collected for the study period. We calculated quality adjusted life year (QALY) gains based on EQ-5D responses from patients in the trial, and then cost per QALY ratios. Confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using non-parametric bootstrapping.

RESULTS: Osteopathy plus usual GP care was more effective but resulted in more health care costs than usual GP care alone. The point estimate of the incremental cost per QALY ratio was 3560 pounds (80% CI 542 pounds-77,100 pounds). Sensitivity analysis examining spine-related costs alone and total costs excluding outliers resulted in lower cost per QALY ratios.

CONCLUSION: A primary care osteopathy clinic may be a cost-effective addition to usual GP care, but this conclusion was subject to considerable random error. Rigorous multi-centre studies are needed to assess the generalizability of this approach.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"