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Improving the accuracy of blood pressure measuring devices in Australia: a modelled return on investment study.

The VALID BP project was initiated to increase the availability of validated blood pressure measuring devices (BPMDs). The goal is to eliminate non validated BPMDs and minimise over- and underdiagnosis of hypertension caused by inaccurate readings. This study was undertaken to assess the potential return on investment in the VALID BP project. The Framework to Assess the Impact of Translational Health Research was applied to the VALID BP project. This paper focuses on the implementation of the cost benefit analysis aspect of this framework to monetise past research investment and model future research costs, implementation costs, and benefits. Analysis was based on reasoned assumptions about potential impacts from availability and use of validated BPMDs (assuming an end goal of 100% validated BPMDs available in Australia by 2028) and improved skills leading to more accurate BP measurement. After 5 years, with 20% attribution of benefits, there is a potential $1.14-$1.30 return for every dollar spent if the proportion of validated BPMDs and staff trained in proper BP measurement technique increased from 20% to 60%. After eight years (2020-2028) and assuming universal validation and training coverage, the returns would be between $2.70 and $3.20 per dollar spent (not including cost of side effects of unnecessary medication or downstream patient impacts from unmanaged hypertension). This modelled economic analysis indicates there will be positive downstream economic benefits if the availability of validated BPMDs is increased. The findings support ongoing efforts toward a universal regulatory framework for BPMDs and can be considered within more detailed future economic analyses.

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