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1.  Optimal Management of High-Risk T1G3 Bladder Cancer: A Decision Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(9):e284.
Controversy exists about the most appropriate treatment for high-risk superficial (stage T1; grade G3) bladder cancer. Immediate cystectomy offers the best chance for survival but may be associated with an impaired quality of life compared with conservative therapy. We estimated life expectancy (LE) and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) for both of these treatments for men and women of different ages and comorbidity levels.
Methods and Findings
We evaluated two treatment strategies for high-risk, T1G3 bladder cancer using a decision-analytic Markov model: (1) Immediate cystectomy with neobladder creation versus (2) conservative management with intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and delayed cystectomy in individuals with resistant or progressive disease. Probabilities and utilities were derived from published literature where available, and otherwise from expert opinion. Extensive sensitivity analyses were conducted to identify variables most likely to influence the decision. Structural sensitivity analyses modifying the base case definition and the triggers for cystectomy in the conservative therapy arm were also explored. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was used to assess the joint uncertainty of all variables simultaneously and the uncertainty in the base case results. External validation of model outputs was performed by comparing model-predicted survival rates with independent published literature. The mean LE of a 60-y-old male was 14.3 y for immediate cystectomy and 13.6 y with conservative management. With the addition of utilities, the immediate cystectomy strategy yielded a mean QALE of 12.32 y and remained preferred over conservative therapy by 0.35 y. Worsening patient comorbidity diminished the benefit of early cystectomy but altered the LE-based preferred treatment only for patients over age 70 y and the QALE-based preferred treatment for patients over age 65 y. Sensitivity analyses revealed that patients over the age of 70 y or those strongly averse to loss of sexual function, gastrointestinal dysfunction, or life without a bladder have a higher QALE with conservative therapy. The results of structural or probabilistic sensitivity analyses did not change the preferred treatment option. Model-predicted overall and disease-specific survival rates were similar to those reported in published studies, suggesting external validity.
Our model is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind in bladder cancer, and demonstrated that younger patients with high-risk T1G3 bladder had a higher LE and QALE with immediate cystectomy. The decision to pursue immediate cystectomy versus conservative therapy should be based on discussions that consider patient age, comorbid status, and an individual's preference for particular postcystectomy health states. Patients over the age of 70 y or those who place high value on sexual function, gastrointestinal function, or bladder preservation may benefit from a more conservative initial therapeutic approach.
Using a Markov model, Shabbir Alibhai and colleagues develop a decision analysis comparing cystectomy with conservative treatment for high-risk superficial bladder cancer depending on patient age, comorbid conditions, and preferences.
Editors' Summary
Every year, about 67,000 people in the US develop bladder cancer. Like all cancers, bladder cancer arises when a single cell begins to grow faster than normal, loses its characteristic shape, and moves into surrounding tissues. Most bladder cancers develop from cells that line the bladder (“transitional” cells) and most are detected before they spread out of this lining. These superficial or T1 stage cancers can be removed by transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). The urologist (a specialist who treats urinary tract problems) passes a small telescope into the bladder through the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) and removes the tumor. If the tumor cells look normal under a microscope (so-called normal histology), the cancer is unlikely to return; if they have lost their normal appearance, the tumor is given a “G3” histological grade, which indicates a high risk of recurrence.
Why Was This Study Done?
The best treatment for T1G3 bladder cancer remains controversial. Some urologists recommend immediate radical cystectomy— surgical removal of the bladder, the urethra, and other nearby organs. This treatment often provides a complete cure but can cause serious short-term health problems and affects long-term quality of life. Patients often develop sexual dysfunction or intestinal (gut) problems and sometimes find it hard to live with a reconstructed bladder. The other recommended treatment is immunotherapy with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG, bacteria that are also used to vaccinate against tuberculosis). Long-term survival is not always as good with this conservative treatment but it is less likely than surgery to cause short-term illness or to reduce quality of life. In this study, the researchers have used decision analysis (a systematic evaluation of the important factors affecting a decision) to determine whether immediate cystectomy or conservative therapy is the optimal treatment for patients with T1G3 bladder cancer. Decision analysis allowed the researchers to account for quality-of-life factors while comparing the health benefits of each treatment for T1G3 bladder cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using a decision analysis model called a Markov model, the researchers calculated the months of life gained, and the quality of life expected to result, from each of the two treatments. To estimate the life expectancy (LE) associated with each treatment, the researchers incorporated the published probabilities of various outcomes of each treatment into their model. To estimate quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE, the number of years of good quality life), they incorporated “utilities,” measures of relative satisfaction with outcomes. (A utility of 1 represents perfect health; death is assigned a value of 0, and outcomes considered less than ideal, but better than death, fall in between). For a sexually potent 60-year-old man with bladder cancer but no other illnesses, the average LE predicted by the model was nearly eight months longer with immediate cystectomy than with conservative treatment (both LEs predicted by this model matched those seen in clinical trials); the average QALE with cystectomy was 4.2 months longer than with conservative treatment. Having additional diseases decreased the benefit of immediate cystectomy but the treatment still gave a longer LE until the patient reached 70 years old, when conservative treatment became better. For QALE, this change in optimal treatment appeared at age 65. Finally, conservative treatment gave a higher QALE than immediate cystectomy for patients concerned about preserving sexual function or averse to living with intestinal problems or a reconstructed bladder.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, these results depend on the assumptions included in the model. In particular, because published probability and utility values are not available for some of the possible outcomes of the two treatments, the LE and QALE calculations could be inaccurate. Also, assigning numerical ratings to life experiences is generally something of a simplification, which could affect the reliability of the QALE (but not the LE) results. Nevertheless, these findings provide useful guidance for urologists trying to balance the benefits of immediate cystectomy or conservative treatment against the potential short-term and long-term effects of these treatments on patients' quality of life. Specifically, the results indicate that decisions on treatment for T1G3 bladder cancer should be based on a consideration of the patient's age and any coexisting disease coupled with detailed discussions with the patient about their attitudes regarding the possible health-related effects of cystectomy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia page on bladder cancer (in English and Spanish)
Information for patients and professionals from the US National Cancer Institute on bladder cancer (in English and Spanish)
Information for patients on bladder cancer from the UK charity Cancerbackup
Online course on Decision Analysis in Health Care from George Mason University
PMCID: PMC1989749  PMID: 17896857
2.  Estimating the lifelong health impact and financial burdens of different types of lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:579.
Owing to the high mortality and rapidly growing costs related to lung cancer, it is worth examining the health benefits of prevention for major types of lung cancer. This study attempts to quantify the quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), loss-of-QALE, and lifetime healthcare expenditures of patients with different pathological types of lung cancer.
A national cohort consisting of 66,535 patients with pathologically verified lung cancer was followed for 13 years (1998–2010) to obtain the survival function, which was further extrapolated to lifetime. Between 2011 and 2012, EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaires were used to measure the quality of life (QoL) for 1,314 consecutive, cross-sectional samples. After multiplying the lifetime survival function by the utility values of QoL, we estimated the QALE and loss-of-QALE. We also collected the monthly healthcare expenditures, which included National Health Insurance-reimbursed and out-of-pocket direct medical costs, for 2,456 patients from 2005 to 2012. These values were multiplied by the corresponding survival probabilities to calculate lifetime healthcare expenditures after adjustments with medical care inflation rates and annual discount rates.
The QALE for patients with small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma were 1.21, 2.37, and 3.03 quality-adjusted life year (QALY), with the corresponding loss-of-QALE of 13.69, 12.22, and 15.03 QALY, respectively. The lifetime healthcare expenditures were US$ 18,455 ± 1,137, 20,599 ± 1,787, and 36,771 ± 1,998, respectively.
The lifelong health impact and financial burdens in Taiwan are heavier for adenocarcinoma than for squamous cell carcinoma. The cost-effectiveness of prevention programs could be directly compared with that of treatment strategies to improve patient value. And the methodology could be applied to other chronic diseases for resources planning of healthcare services.
PMCID: PMC4234193  PMID: 24308346
Lung cancer prevention; Life expectancy; Quality-adjusted life expectancy; Costs; Out-of-pocket money
3.  Double trouble: the impact of multimorbidity and deprivation on preference-weighted health related quality of life a cross sectional analysis of the Scottish Health Survey 
To investigate the association between multimorbidity and Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL), a score that combines physical and mental functioning, and how this varies by socioeconomic deprivation and age.
The Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) is a cross-sectional representative survey of the general population which included the SF-12, a survey of HRQoL, for individuals 20 years and over.
For 7,054 participants we generated PW_HRQoL scores by running SF-12 responses through the SF-6D algorithm. The resulting scores ranged from 0.29 (worst health) to 1 (perfect health). Using ordinary least squares, we first investigated associations between scores and increasing counts of longstanding conditions, and then repeated for multimorbidity (2+ conditions). Estimates were made for the general population and quintiles of socioeconomic deprivation. For multimorbidity, the analyses were repeated stratifying the population by age group (20–44, 45–64, 65+).
45% of participants reported a longstanding condition and 18% reported multimorbidity. The presence of 1, 2, or 3+ longstanding conditions were associated with average reductions in PW_HRQoL scores of 0.081, 0.151 and 0.212 respectively. Reduction in scores associated with multimorbidity was 33% greater in the most deprived quintile compared to the least deprived quintile, with the biggest difference (80%) in the 20–44 age groups. There were no significant gender differences.
PW_HRQoL decreases markedly with multimorbidity, and is exacerbated by higher deprivation and younger age. There is a need to prioritise interventions to improve the HRQoL for (especially younger) adults with multimorbidity in deprived areas.
Box 1
What Is Known?
Prevalence and premature onset of multimorbidity increases as socioeconomic position worsens. Previous studies have investigated the effect of multimorbidity on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) on separate physical and mental health states. There is limited data on how HRQoL falls as the number of conditions increase, and how estimates vary across the general population.
Leaving physical and mental health as separate categories can inhibit assessment of overall HRQoL. The use of a Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL) score provides a single summary measure of overall health, by weighting mental and physical states by their perceived importance as part of overall HRQoL. The use of a single score enables a simple and consistent assessment of the impact of conditions and how this varies across the population. Economists term PW_HRQoL scores health utilities.
What this study adds?
This is the first study to estimate how the impact of multimorbidity on PW_HRQoL scores varies by age group and socioeconomic deprivation. Multimorbidity has a substantial negative impact on HRQoL which is most severe in areas of deprivation, especially in younger adults.
Measuring the burden of multimorbidity using PW_HRQoL provides consistency with how economists measure HRQoL; changes in which can be used in economic evaluation to assess the cost effectiveness of interventions.
PMCID: PMC3765174  PMID: 23962150
Multimorbidity; Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL); Deprivation; Inequality
4.  Health-Related Quality of Life, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, and Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy in New York City from 1995 to 2006 
We applied our previously developed estimation equation to predict EQ-5D index scores from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Days measures for the New York City (NYC) adult population from 1995 to 2006 and compared these trends over time with the US general population. Such scores enabled us to examine the burden of disease attributable to smoking and overweight/obesity at both the local and national levels. We employed the estimation equation to the 1993–2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to obtain EQ-5D index scores for all survey respondents based on their age, self-rated health status, and overall number of unhealthy days. With the combination of mortality data, we calculated trends of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), life expectancy (LE), and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) as well as the percent of QALYs and QALE lost contributed by smoking and overweight/obesity. Mean EQ-5D index scores for NYC adults decreased from 0.874 to 0.852 but, more recently, have increased to 0.869. The LE of an 18-year-old living in NYC increased 4.7 years and QALE increased 2.6 years. The contribution of smoking to the proportion of QALYs lost decreased from 6.7% to 3.5%, while the contribution of overweight/obesity to the proportion of QALYs lost increased from 4.5% to 16.9%. The proportion of QALEs lost due to smoking decreased from 5.5% to 4.5%, while the proportion of QALEs lost due to overweight/obesity increased from 3.5% to 11.8%. Because the Healthy Days measures have been included in the BRFSS since 1993, translating Healthy Days Measures to a preference-based measure is a useful method for longitudinal tracking of population health at the local, state, and national level.
PMCID: PMC2704267  PMID: 19283489
Health-related quality of life; EQ-5D; Healthy days measures; Burden of disease
5.  The Reversal of Fortunes: Trends in County Mortality and Cross-County Mortality Disparities in the United States  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e66.
Counties are the smallest unit for which mortality data are routinely available, allowing consistent and comparable long-term analysis of trends in health disparities. Average life expectancy has steadily increased in the United States but there is limited information on long-term mortality trends in the US counties This study aimed to investigate trends in county mortality and cross-county mortality disparities, including the contributions of specific diseases to county level mortality trends.
Methods and Findings
We used mortality statistics (from the National Center for Health Statistics [NCHS]) and population (from the US Census) to estimate sex-specific life expectancy for US counties for every year between 1961 and 1999. Data for analyses in subsequent years were not provided to us by the NCHS. We calculated different metrics of cross-county mortality disparity, and also grouped counties on the basis of whether their mortality changed favorably or unfavorably relative to the national average. We estimated the probability of death from specific diseases for counties with above- or below-average mortality performance. We simulated the effect of cross-county migration on each county's life expectancy using a time-based simulation model. Between 1961 and 1999, the standard deviation (SD) of life expectancy across US counties was at its lowest in 1983, at 1.9 and 1.4 y for men and women, respectively. Cross-county life expectancy SD increased to 2.3 and 1.7 y in 1999. Between 1961 and 1983 no counties had a statistically significant increase in mortality; the major cause of mortality decline for both sexes was reduction in cardiovascular mortality. From 1983 to 1999, life expectancy declined significantly in 11 counties for men (by 1.3 y) and in 180 counties for women (by 1.3 y); another 48 (men) and 783 (women) counties had nonsignificant life expectancy decline. Life expectancy decline in both sexes was caused by increased mortality from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and a range of other noncommunicable diseases, which were no longer compensated for by the decline in cardiovascular mortality. Higher HIV/AIDS and homicide deaths also contributed substantially to life expectancy decline for men, but not for women. Alternative specifications of the effects of migration showed that the rise in cross-county life expectancy SD was unlikely to be caused by migration.
There was a steady increase in mortality inequality across the US counties between 1983 and 1999, resulting from stagnation or increase in mortality among the worst-off segment of the population. Female mortality increased in a large number of counties, primarily because of chronic diseases related to smoking, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure.
Majid Ezzati and colleagues analyze US county-level mortality data for 1961 to 1999, and find a steady increase in mortality inequality across counties between 1983 and 1999.
Editors' Summary
It has long been recognized that the number of years that distinct groups of people in the United States would be expected to live based on their current mortality patterns (“life expectancy”) varies enormously. For example, white Americans tend to live longer than black Americans, the poor tend to have shorter life expectancies than the wealthy, and women tend to outlive men. Where one lives might also be a factor that determines his or her life expectancy, because of social conditions and health programs in different parts of the country.
Why Was the Study Done?
While life expectancies have generally been rising across the United States over time, there is little information, especially over the long term, on the differences in life expectancies across different counties. The researchers therefore set out to examine whether there were different life expectancies across different US counties over the last four decades. The researchers chose to look at counties—the smallest geographic units for which data on death rates are collected in the US—because it allowed them to make comparisons between small subgroups of people that share the same administrative structure.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers looked at differences in death rates between all counties in US states plus the District of Columbia over four decades, from 1961 to 1999. They obtained the data on number of deaths from the National Center for Health Statistics, and they obtained data on the number of people living in each county from the US Census. The NCHS did not provide death data after 2001. They broke the death rates down by sex and by disease to assess trends over time for women and men, and for different causes of death.
Over these four decades, the researchers found that the overall US life expectancy increased from 67 to 74 years of age for men and from 74 to 80 years for women. Between 1961 and 1983 the death rate fell in both men and women, largely due to reductions in deaths from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). During this same period, 1961–1983, the differences in death rates among/across different counties fell. However, beginning in the early 1980s the differences in death rates among/across different counties began to increase. The worst-off counties no longer experienced a fall in death rates, and in a substantial number of counties, mortality actually increased, especially for women, a shift that the researchers call “the reversal of fortunes.” This stagnation in the worst-off counties was primarily caused by a slowdown or halt in the reduction of deaths from cardiovascular disease coupled with a moderate rise in a number of other diseases, such as lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, in both men and women, and a rise in HIV/AIDS and homicide in men. The researchers' key finding, therefore, was that the differences in life expectancy across different counties initially narrowed and then widened.
What Do these Findings Mean?
The findings suggest that beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through 1999 those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from the gains in life expectancy experienced by the advantaged, and some became even worse off. The study emphasizes how important it is to monitor health inequalities between different groups, in order to ensure that everyone—and not just the well-off—can experience gains in life expectancy. Although the “reversal of fortune” that the researchers found applied to only a minority of the population, the authors argue that their study results are troubling because an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement of the health of “all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities” (see, for example
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A study by Nancy Krieger and colleagues, published in PLoS Medicine in February 2008, documented a similar “fall and rise” in health inequities. Krieger and colleagues reported that the difference in health between rich and poor and between different racial/ethnic groups, as measured by rates of dying young and of infant deaths, shrank in the US from 1966 to 1980 then widened from 1980 to 2002
Murray and colleagues, in a 2006 PLoS Medicine article, calculated US mortality rates according to “race-county” units and divided into the “eight Americas,” and found disparities in life expectancy across them
The US Centers for Disease Control has an Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. The office “aims to accelerate CDC's health impact in the US population and to eliminate health disparities for vulnerable populations as defined by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, gender, age, disability status, risk status related to sex and gender, and among other populations identified to be at-risk for health disparities”
Wikipedia has a chapter on health disparities (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
In 2001 the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality sponsored a workshop on “strategies to reduce health disparities”
PMCID: PMC2323303  PMID: 18433290
6.  The joint action on healthy life years (JA: EHLEIS) 
Life expectancy has been increasing during the last century within the European Union (EU). To measure progress in population health it is no longer sufficient to focus on the duration of life but quality of life should be considered. Healthy Life Years (HLY) allow estimating the quality of the remaining years that a person is expected to live, in terms of being free of long-standing activity limitation. The Joint Action on Healthy Life Years (JA: EHLEIS) is a joint action of European Member States (MS) and the European Union aiming at analysing trends, patterns and differences in HLY, as well as in other Summary Measures of Population Health (SMPH) indicators, across the European member states.
The JA: EHLEIS consolidates existing information on life and health expectancy by maximising the European comparability; by analysing trends in HLY within the EU; by analysing the evolution of the differences in HLY between Member States; and by identifying both macro-level as micro-level determinants of the inequalities in HLY. The JA: EHLEIS works in collaboration with the USA, Japan and OECD on the development of new SMPHs to be used globally. To strengthen the utility of the HLY for policy-making, annual meetings with policy-makers are planned.
The information system allows the estimation of a set of health indicators (morbidity and disability prevalence, life and health expectancies) for Europe, Member States and shortly their regional levels. An annual country report on HLY in the national languages is available. The JA: EHLEIS is developing statistical attribution and decomposition tools which will be helpful to determine the impact of specific diseases, life styles or other determinants on differences in HLY. Through a set of international workshops the JA: EHLEIS aims to develop a blueprint for an international harmonized Summary Measure of Population Health.
The JA: EHLEIS objectives are to monitor progress towards the headline target of the Europe 2020 strategy of increasing HLY by 2 years by 2020 and to support policy development by identifying the main determinants of active and healthy ageing in Europe.
PMCID: PMC3598905  PMID: 23379576
Health status indicators; Gender; Socioeconomic status; Public health; Health expectancy; Healthy life years; EU
7.  Cost-effectiveness of Total Knee Arthroplasty in the United States 
Archives of internal medicine  2009;169(12):1113-1122.
Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) relieves pain and improves quality of life for persons with advanced knee osteoarthritis. However, to our knowledge, the cost-effectiveness of TKA and the influences of hospital volume and patient risk on TKA cost-effectiveness have not been investigated in the United States.
We developed a Markov, state-transition, computer simulation model and populated it with Medicare claims data and cost and outcomes data from national and multinational sources. We projected lifetime costs and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) for different risk populations and varied TKA intervention and hospital volume. Cost-effectiveness of TKA was estimated across all patient risk and hospital volume permutations. Finally, we conducted sensitivity analyses to determine various parameters’ influences on cost-effectiveness.
Overall, TKA increased QALE from 6.822 to 7.957 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Lifetime costs rose from $37 100 (no TKA) to $57 900 after TKA, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $18 300 per QALY. For high-risk patients, TKA increased QALE from 5.713 to 6.594 QALY, yielding a cost-effectiveness ratio of $28 100 per QALY. At all risk levels, TKA was more costly and less effective in low-volume centers than in high-volume centers. Results were insensitive to variations of key input parameters within policy-relevant, clinically plausible ranges. The greatest variations were seen for the quality of life gain after TKA and the cost of TKA.
Total knee arthroplasty appears to be cost-effective in the US Medicare-aged population, as currently practiced across all risk groups. Policy decisions should be made on the basis of available local options for TKA. However, when a high-volume hospital is available, TKAs performed in a high-volume hospital confer even greater value per dollar spent than TKAs performed in low-volume centers.
PMCID: PMC2731300  PMID: 19546411
8.  Impact of Delaying Blood Pressure Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Results of a Decision Analysis 
In patients with diabetes, delays in controlling blood pressure are common, but the harms of delays have not been quantified.
To estimate the harms of delays in controlling systolic blood pressure in middle-aged adults with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes.
Decision analysis using diabetes complication equations from the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS).
Hypothetical population of adults aged 50 to 59 years old with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes based on characteristics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
Delays in lowering systolic blood pressure from 150 (uncontrolled) to 130 mmHg (controlled).
Lifetime complication rates (amputation, congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke), average life expectancy and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE).
Compared to a lifetime of controlled blood pressure, a lifetime of uncontrolled blood pressure increased complications by 1855 events per 10,000 patients and decreased QALE by 332 days. A 1-year delay increased complications by 14 events per 10,000 patients and decreased QALE by 2 days. A 10-year delay increased complications by 428 events per 10,000 patients and decreased QALE by 145 days. Among complications, rates of stroke and myocardial infarction increased to the greatest extent due to delays. With a 20-year delay in achieving controlled blood pressure, a baseline blood pressure of 160 mmHg decreased QALE by 477 days, whereas a baseline of 140 mmHg decreased QALE by 142 days.
Among middle-aged adults with diabetes, the harms of a 1-year delay in controlling blood pressure may be small; however, delays of ten years or more are expected to lower QALE to the same extent as smoking in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1951-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3358401  PMID: 22215265
diabetes mellitus; delays; hypertension; decision analysis
9.  Validation study of the prototype of a disease-specific index measure for health-related quality of life in dementia 
Index measures for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) quantify the desirability (utility) of a certain health state. The commonly used generic index measure, e.g. EuroQol: EQ-5D, may underestimate relevant areas of specific diseases, resulting in lower validity. Disease-specific index measures on the other hand combine disease-specificity and quantification of perceived quality on several health domains of a certain disease into one single figure. These instruments have been developed for several diseases, but a dementia-specific HRQoL index instrument was not yet available. Facing the increasing individual and societal burden of dementia, specific HRQoL values with metric characteristics are especially useful because they will provide vital information for health outcome research and economic evaluations.
Aims of the study
To develop and validate the prototype of a dementia-specific HRQoL index measure: Dementia Quality of life Instrument (DQI), as the first step towards valuation of the dementia health state.
For development of the DQI we created a conceptual framework based on a review of the literature, qualitative interviews with people with dementia and their carers, expert opinion and team discussion. To assess validity we undertook a survey under 241 dementia professionals. Measurements consisted of ranking (1–5) and rating (1–10) of 5 dementia-specific DQI domains (memory, orientation, independence, social activities and mood) and simultaneously rating of 9 DQI-derived health states on a visual analogue scale (VAS). We also performed a cross-sectional study in a large sample of people with very mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers (N = 145) to assess feasibility and concurrent validity. In addition, caregivers valued 10 DQI and 10 EQ-5D + C derived health states of the patient simultaneously on the same VAS. Setting: outpatient clinics, nursing homes and patient residences.
All professionals judged the selected DQI domains to be relevant. Differences in ranking and rating behaviors were small. Mood was ranked (≥3.3) and rated (≥8.2) as most, orientation as least important (rank ≤2.6, value 7.5) health domain for dementia. For the validation part of this study the completion rates for all domains were above 98% for patients and 100% for caregivers on patients. A priori hypothesized DQI versus QOL-AD correlations that were significant in both patients and caregivers were: memory/memory, orientation/memory, independence/physical health, social activities/energy and mood/mood. Patient/caregiver inter-rater agreement was low (K < 0.2) for memory/independence, fair (K 0.2-0.4) for orientation/mood, and moderate (K 0.4-0.6) for social activities. Concurrent validity of the DQI with the EQ-5D + C was moderate. The fact that most of the correlations between the domains of these two instruments were low (≤0.40) showed that both instruments measure different elements of health status. As expected, modest correlations (≥0.40) were observed between corresponding domains of the two instruments.
Professionals judged all domains as relevant. The DQI prototype proved valid and feasible for patients and caregivers and is appropriate for very mild to moderate dementia. The differences in concurrent correlations with generic health status instruments imply that the dementia-specific DQI health domains indeed provide different information. The finding that patient HRQoL measured with the DQI was lower supports this notion. The new DQI shows comparable psychometric properties to the best available dementia-specific (QOL-AD) and generic (EQ-5D + C) measures. Further research is needed to generate values in the general population for each of the possible DQI states and to derive an algorithm that converts the 5 separate DQI domain scores into one single DQI Index score. Introducing the DQI Index will advance dementia-related HRQoL measurement by overcoming the shortcomings of generic and non-index instruments. This will allow more unequivocal interpretation of subjective dementia HRQoL states in dementia research.
PMCID: PMC3503596  PMID: 23009579
Dementia; Health-related quality of life; Dementia Quality of life Instrument (DQI); Disease-specific index instrument; Cost-effectiveness
10.  Incidence, life expectancy and prognostic factors in cancer patients under prolonged mechanical ventilation: a nationwide analysis of 5,138 cases during 1998-2007 
Critical Care  2013;17(4):R144.
This study is aimed at determining the incidence, survival rate, life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) and prognostic factors in patients with cancer in different organ systems undergoing prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV).
We used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan from 1998 to 2007 and linked it with the National Mortality Registry to ascertain mortality. Subjects who received PMV, defined as having undergone mechanical ventilation continuously for longer than 21 days, were enrolled. The incidence of cancer patients requiring PMV was calculated, with the exception of patients with multiple cancers. The life expectancies and QALE of patients with different types of cancer were estimated. Quality-of-life data were taken from a sample of 142 patients who received PMV. A multivariable proportional hazards model was constructed to assess the effect of different prognostic factors, including age, gender, type of cancer, metastasis, comorbidities and hospital levels.
Among 9,011 cancer patients receiving mechanical ventilation for more than 7 days, 5,138 undergoing PMV had a median survival of 1.37 months (interquartile range [IQR], 0.50 to 4.57) and a 1-yr survival rate of 14.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.3% to 15.3%). The incidence of PMV was 10.4 per 100 ICU admissions. Head and neck cancer patients seemed to survive the longest. The overall life expectancy was 1.21 years, with estimated QALE ranging from 0.17 to 0.37 quality-adjusted life years for patients with poor and partial cognition, respectively. Cancer of liver (hazard ratio [HR], 1.55; 95% CI, 1.34 to 1.78), lung (HR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.30 to 1.41) and metastasis (HR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.42 to 1.65) were found to predict shorter survival independently.
Cancer patients requiring PMV had poor long-term outcomes. Palliative care should be considered early in these patients, especially when metastasis has occurred.
PMCID: PMC4057492  PMID: 23876301
11.  Role of Reduced-Intensity Conditioning Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation in Older Patients With De Novo Myelodysplastic Syndromes: An International Collaborative Decision Analysis 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(21):2662-2670.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal hematopoietic disorders that are more common in patients aged ≥ 60 years and are incurable with conventional therapies. Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation is potentially curative but has additional mortality risk. We evaluated RIC transplantation versus nontransplantation therapies in older patients with MDS stratified by International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) risk.
Patients and Methods
A Markov decision model with quality-of-life utility estimates for different MDS and transplantation states was assessed. Outcomes were life expectancy (LE) and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE). A total of 514 patients with de novo MDS aged 60 to 70 years were evaluated. Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, isolated 5q– syndrome, unclassifiable, and therapy-related MDS were excluded. Transplantation using T-cell depletion or HLA-mismatched or umbilical cord donors was also excluded. RIC transplantation (n = 132) stratified by IPSS risk was compared with best supportive care for patients with nonanemic low/intermediate-1 IPSS (n = 123), hematopoietic growth factors for patients with anemic low/intermediate-1 IPSS (n = 94), and hypomethylating agents for patients with intermediate-2/high IPSS (n = 165).
For patients with low/intermediate-1 IPSS MDS, RIC transplantation LE was 38 months versus 77 months with nontransplantation approaches. QALE and sensitivity analysis did not favor RIC transplantation across plausible utility estimates. For intermediate-2/high IPSS MDS, RIC transplantation LE was 36 months versus 28 months for nontransplantation therapies. QALE and sensitivity analysis favored RIC transplantation across plausible utility estimates.
For patients with de novo MDS aged 60 to 70 years, favored treatments vary with IPSS risk. For low/intermediate-1 IPSS, nontransplantation approaches are preferred. For intermediate-2/high IPSS, RIC transplantation offers overall and quality-adjusted survival benefit.
PMCID: PMC3825320  PMID: 23797000
12.  Subjective health status and health-related quality of life among women with Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidosis (RVVC) in Europe and the USA 
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis (RVVC) is a chronic condition causing discomfort and pain. Health status and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in RVVC were never previously described using validated questionnaires. The objective of this study is to describe subjective health status and HRQoL and estimate health state utilities among women with RVVC.
A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among women who reported having suffered four or more yeast infections over the past 12 months, in five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) and the USA. Index scores were derived from the EQ-5D, a questionnaire providing a single index value for health status. The SF-36 questionnaire was used for HRQoL assessment. Information on disease severity, treatment patterns and productivity was also collected.
12,834 members of online research panels were contacted. Among them, 620 women with RVVC (5%) were selected to complete the full questionnaire. The mean EQ-5D index score was 0.70 (95% confidence interval: [0.67, 0.72]) and the difference between women with a yeast infection at the time of questionnaire completion and other respondents was 0.05 (p = 0.47). The EQ-5D index score increased significantly with the time since last infection (p < 0.001). 68% of women reported depression/anxiety problems during acute episode, and 54% outside episodes, compared to less than 20% in general population (p < 0.001). All SF-36 domain scores were significantly below general population norms. Mental health domains were the most affected. The impact on productivity was estimated at 33 lost work hours per year on average, corresponding to estimated costs between €266/year and €1,130/year depending on the country.
Subjective health status and HRQoL during and in between acute inflammatory episodes in women with RVVC are significantly worse than in the general population, despite the use of antifungal therapy. The average index score in women with RVVC is comparable to other diseases such as asthma or COPD and worse than diseases such as headache/migraine according to US and UK catalogs of index scores. The survey also revealed a significant loss of productivity associated with RVVC.
PMCID: PMC3815627  PMID: 24119427
13.  Health-Related Quality of Life and Utility Scores in People with Mental Disorders: A Comparison with the Non-Mentally Ill General Population 
There is a lack of comparable health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and utility data across all mental disorders and all inpatient and outpatient settings. Our objective was to investigate the HRQoL and utility scores of people with mental disorders in France, treated in outpatient and inpatient settings, and to identify the HRQoL and utility score losses attributable to mental disorders compared to the non-mentally ill general population. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess HRQoL (SF-12) and utility scores of patients with mental disorders and followed in four psychiatric sectors in France. Scores were described by demographic and clinical characteristics and were then adjusted on age and gender and compared with those of the non-mentally ill general population. Median HRQoL and utility scores were significantly lower in patients with mental disorders than in the non-mentally ill general population; median differences amounted to 5.4 for the HRQoL physical score, to 11.8 for the HRQoL mental score and to 0.125 for the utility score. Our findings underscore the negative impact of mental disorders on HRQoL in France and provide a baseline to assess the global impact of current and future organizational changes in the mental health care system.
PMCID: PMC3987005  PMID: 24608903
mental disorders; health-related quality of life; utility scores; general population
14.  Underlying Dimensions of the Five Health-Related Quality-of-Life Measures Used in Utility Assessment 
Medical care  2010;48(8):718-725.
Preference-weighted health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) indexes produce a summary score from discrete health states determined by questions falling into several attributes, such as pain and mobility. Values of HRQoL are used alongside other health outcomes to monitor the health of populations.
The purpose of this study was to examine among US adults, the underlying factor structure of HRQoL attribute scores across 5 indexes of HRQoL: EuroQol-5 Dimension, Health Utilities Index Mark 2, Health Utilities Index Mark 3, Short Form-6 Dimension, and Quality of Well-Being Scale Self-Administered form.
The National Health Measurement Study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3844 noninstitutionalized adults aged 35 to 89 years residing in the continental US. Simultaneous data on all 5 indexes were collected cross-sectionally from June 2005 to August 2006. Exploration of underlying dimensions of HRQoL was done by categorical exploratory factor analysis of HRQoL indexes' attribute scores. Item response theory was applied to explore the amount of information HRQoL attributes contribute to the underlying latent dimensions.
Three main dimensions of HRQoL emerged: physical, psychosocial, and pain. Most HRQoL index attributes contributed to the physical or psychosocial dimension. The 3 dimensions were correlated: 0.47 (physical and psychosocial), 0.57 (physical and pain), 0.46 (psychosocial and pain). Some HRQoL index attributes displayed relatively more unique variance: HUI3 hearing, speech, and vision, and some contributed to more than 1 dimension The identified factor structure fit the HRQoL data well (Comparative Fit Index = 0.98, Tucker-Lewis Index = 0.98, and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.042).
The attributes of 5 commonly used HRQoL indexes share 3 underlying latent dimensions of HRQoL, physical, psychosocial, and pain.
PMCID: PMC3635481  PMID: 20613664
health-related quality-of-life; patient reported outcomes; factor analysis; item response theory; health dimensions; EQ-5D; HUI2; HUI3; SF-6D; QWB-SA
15.  Drivers of Inequality in Millennium Development Goal Progress: A Statistical Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000241.
David Stuckler and colleagues examine the impact of the HIV and noncommunicable disease epidemics on low-income countries' progress toward the Millennium Development Goals for health.
Many low- and middle-income countries are not on track to reach the public health targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We evaluated whether differential progress towards health MDGs was associated with economic development, public health funding (both overall and as percentage of available domestic funds), or health system infrastructure. We also examined the impact of joint epidemics of HIV/AIDS and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which may limit the ability of households to address child mortality and increase risks of infectious diseases.
Methods and Findings
We calculated each country's distance from its MDG goals for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and infant and child mortality targets for the year 2005 using the United Nations MDG database for 227 countries from 1990 to the present. We studied the association of economic development (gross domestic product [GDP] per capita in purchasing-power-parity), the relative priority placed on health (health spending as a percentage of GDP), real health spending (health system expenditures in purchasing-power-parity), HIV/AIDS burden (prevalence rates among ages 15–49 y), and NCD burden (age-standardised chronic disease mortality rates), with measures of distance from attainment of health MDGs. To avoid spurious correlations that may exist simply because countries with high disease burdens would be expected to have low MDG progress, and to adjust for potential confounding arising from differences in countries' initial disease burdens, we analysed the variations in rates of change in MDG progress versus expected rates for each country. While economic development, health priority, health spending, and health infrastructure did not explain more than one-fifth of the differences in progress to health MDGs among countries, burdens of HIV and NCDs explained more than half of between-country inequalities in child mortality progress (R2-infant mortality  = 0.57, R2-under 5 mortality  = 0.54). HIV/AIDS and NCD burdens were also the strongest correlates of unequal progress towards tuberculosis goals (R2 = 0.57), with NCDs having an effect independent of HIV/AIDS, consistent with micro-level studies of the influence of tobacco and diabetes on tuberculosis risks. Even after correcting for health system variables, initial child mortality, and tuberculosis diseases, we found that lower burdens of HIV/AIDS and NCDs were associated with much greater progress towards attainment of child mortality and tuberculosis MDGs than were gains in GDP. An estimated 1% lower HIV prevalence or 10% lower mortality rate from NCDs would have a similar impact on progress towards the tuberculosis MDG as an 80% or greater rise in GDP, corresponding to at least a decade of economic growth in low-income countries.
Unequal progress in health MDGs in low-income countries appears significantly related to burdens of HIV and NCDs in a population, after correcting for potentially confounding socioeconomic, disease burden, political, and health system variables. The common separation between NCDs, child mortality, and infectious syndromes among development programs may obscure interrelationships of illness affecting those living in poor households—whether economic (e.g., as money spent on tobacco is lost from child health expenditures) or biological (e.g., as diabetes or HIV enhance the risk of tuberculosis).
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2000, 189 countries adopted the United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration, which commits the world to the eradication of extreme poverty by 2015. The Declaration lists eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 21 quantifiable targets, and 60 indicators of progress. So, for example, MDG 4 aims to reduce child mortality (deaths). The target for this goal is to reduce the number of children who die each year before they are five years old (the under-five mortality rate) to two-thirds of its 1990 value by 2015. Indicators of progress toward this goal include the under-five mortality rate and the infant mortality rate. Because poverty and ill health are inextricably linked—ill health limits the ability of individuals and nations to improve their economic status, and poverty contributes to the development of many illnesses—two other MDGs also tackle public health issues. MDG 5 sets a target of reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters of its 1990 level by 2015. MDG 6 aims to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other major diseases such as tuberculosis by 2015.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although progress has been made toward achieving the MDGs, few if any of the targets are likely to be met by 2015. Worryingly, low-income countries are falling furthest behind their MDG targets. For example, although child mortality has been declining globally, in many poor countries there has been little or no progress. What is the explanation for this and other inequalities in progress toward the health MDGs? Some countries may simply lack the financial resources needed to combat epidemics or may allocate only a low proportion of their gross domestic product (GDP) to health. Alternatively, money allocated to health may not always reach the people who need it most because of an inadequate health infrastructure. Finally, coexisting epidemics may be hindering progress toward the MDG health targets. Thus, the spread of HIV/AIDS may be hindering attempts to limit the spread of tuberculosis because HIV infection increases the risk of active tuberculosis, and ongoing epidemics of diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) may be affecting the attainment of health MDGs by diverting scarce resources. In this study, the researchers investigate whether any of these possibilities is driving the inequalities in MDG progress.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers calculated how far 227 countries were from their MDG targets for HIV, tuberculosis, and infant and child mortality in 2005 using information collected by the UN. They then used statistical methods to study the relationship between this distance and economic development (GDP per person), health spending as a proportion of GDP (health priority), actual health system expenditures, health infrastructure, HIV burden, and NCD burden in each country. Economic development, health priority, health spending, and health infrastructure explained no more than one-fifth of the inequalities in progress toward health MDGs. By contrast, the HIV and NCD burdens explained more than half of inequalities in child mortality progress and were strongly associated with unequal progress toward tuberculosis goals. Furthermore, the researchers calculated that a 1% reduction in the number of people infected with HIV or a 10% reduction in rate of deaths from NCDs in a population would have a similar impact on progress toward the tuberculosis MDG target as a rise in GDP corresponding to at least a decade of growth in low-income countries.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings are limited by the quality of the available data on health indicators in low-income countries and, because the researchers used country-wide data, their findings only reveal possible drivers of inequalities in progress toward MDGs in whole countries and may mask drivers of within-country inequalities. Nevertheless, as one of the first attempts to analyze the determinants of global inequalities in progress toward the health MDGs, these findings have important implications for global health policy. Most importantly, the finding that unequal progress is related to the burdens of HIV and NCDs in populations suggests that programs designed to achieve health MDGs must consider all the diseases and factors that can trap households in vicious cycles of illness and poverty, especially since the achievement of feasible reductions in NCDs in low-income countries could greatly enhance progress towards health MDGs.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals website provides detailed information about the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs, their targets and their indicators
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009 and its progress chart provide an up-to-date assessment of progress towards the MDGs
The World Health Organization provides information about poverty and health and health and development
PMCID: PMC2830449  PMID: 20209000
16.  Cost-Effectiveness of Intensified Versus Conventional Multifactorial Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2008;31(8):1510-1515.
OBJECTIVE—To assess the cost-effectiveness of intensive versus conventional therapy for 8 years as applied in the Steno-2 study in patients with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A Markov model was developed to incorporate event and risk data from Steno-2 and account Danish-specific costs to project life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), and lifetime direct medical costs expressed in year 2005 Euros. Clinical and cost outcomes were projected over patient lifetimes and discounted at 3% annually. Sensitivity analyses were performed.
RESULTS—Intensive treatment was associated with increased life expectancy, QALE, and lifetime costs compared with conventional treatment. Mean ± SD undiscounted life expectancy was 18.1 ± 7.9 years with intensive treatment and 16.2 ± 7.3 years with conventional treatment (difference 1.9 years). Discounted life expectancy was 13.4 ± 4.8 years with intensive treatment and 12.4 ± 4.5 years with conventional treatment. Lifetime costs (discounted) for intensive and conventional treatment were €45,521 ± 19,697 and €41,319 ± 27,500, respectively (difference €4,202). Increased costs with intensive treatment were due to increased pharmacy and consultation costs. Discounted QALE was 1.66 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) higher for intensive (10.2 ± 3.6 QALYs) versus conventional (8.6 ± 2.7 QALYs) treatment, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €2,538 per QALY gained. This is considered a conservative estimate because accounting prescription of generic drugs and capturing indirect costs would further favor intensified therapy.
CONCLUSIONS—From a health care payer perspective in Denmark, intensive therapy was more cost-effective than conventional treatment. Assuming that patients in both arms were treated in a primary care setting, intensive therapy became dominant (cost- and lifesaving).
PMCID: PMC2494636  PMID: 18443195
17.  Low health-related quality of life in school-aged children in Tonga, a lower-middle income country in the South Pacific 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24896.
Ensuring a good life for all parts of the population, including children, is high on the public health agenda in most countries around the world. Information about children's perception of their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and its socio-demographic distribution is, however, limited and almost exclusively reliant on data from Western higher income countries.
To investigate HRQoL in schoolchildren in Tonga, a lower income South Pacific Island country, and to compare this to HRQoL of children in other countries, including Tongan children living in New Zealand, a high-income country in the same region.
A cross-sectional study from Tonga addressing all secondary schoolchildren (11–18 years old) on the outer island of Vava'u and in three districts of the main island of Tongatapu (2,164 participants). A comparison group drawn from the literature comprised children in 18 higher income and one lower income country (Fiji). A specific New Zealand comparison group involved all children of Tongan descendent at six South Auckland secondary schools (830 participants). HRQoL was assessed by the self-report Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0.
HRQoL in Tonga was overall similar in girls and boys, but somewhat lower in children below 15 years of age. The children in Tonga experienced lower HRQoL than the children in all of the 19 comparison countries, with a large difference between children in Tonga and the higher income countries (Cohen's d 1.0) and a small difference between Tonga and the lower income country Fiji (Cohen's d 0.3). The children in Tonga also experienced lower HRQoL than Tongan children living in New Zealand (Cohen's d 0.6).
The results reveal worrisome low HRQoL in children in Tonga and point towards a potential general pattern of low HRQoL in children living in lower income countries, or, alternatively, in the South Pacific Island countries.
PMCID: PMC4141941  PMID: 25150029
adolescent health; child health; community health; Epidemiology; low-income population; mental health; quality of life
18.  Associations between demographic, disease related, and treatment pathway related variables and health related quality of life in primary care patients with coronary heart disease 
Coronory heart disease (CHD) is a common medical problem worldwide that demands shared care of general practitioners and cardiologists for concerned patients. In order to improve the cooperation between both medical specialists and to optimize evidence-based care, a treatment pathway for patients with CHD was developed and evaluated in a feasibility study according to the recommendation for the development and evaluation of complex interventions of the British Medical Research Council (MRC). In the context of this feasibility study the objective of the present research was to investigate the contributions of different disease related (e.g. prior myocardial infarction), pathway related (e.g. basic medication) and demographic variables on patients` perceived health related quality of life (HRQoL) as a relevant and widely used outcome measure in cardiac populations.
Data assessing demographic, disease and pathway related variables of CHD patients included in the study were collected in a quasi-experimental design with three study arms (pathway developers, users, control group) via case record forms and questionnaires at baseline and after 6 and 12 (intervention groups), and 9 months (control group), respectively after the initial implementation on GP level. Additionally, at the same measuring points the CHD patients participating in the study were interviewed by phone regarding their perceived HRQoL, measured with the EuroQol EQ-5D as an index-based health questionnaire. Due to the hierarchical structure of the data, we performed cross-sectional and longitudinal linear mixed models to investigate the impact of disease related, pathway related and demographic variables on patients` perceived HRQoL.
Of 334 initially recruited patients with CHD, a total of 290 were included in our analysis. This was an average 13.2% dropout rate from baseline assessment to the 12-month follow-up. At all assessment points, patients` HRQoL was associated with a variety of sociodemographic variables (e.g. gender, employment, education) in each study group, but there was no association with pathway related variables. In both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses highest HRQoL values in patients were reported in the physician group that had developed the pathway. In the longitudinal analyses there were no significant changes in the reported HRQoL values of the three groups over time.
The found associations between sociodemographic variables and the perceived HRQoL of patients with CHD are in line with other research. As there are no associations of HRQoL with pathway related variables like the basic medication, possible weaknesses in the study design or the choice of outcome have to be considered before planning and conducting an evaluation study according to the MRC recommendations. Additionally, as patients in the developer group reported the highest HRQoL values over time, a higher commitment of the GPs in the developer group can be assumed and should be considered in further research.
PMCID: PMC3464887  PMID: 22776102
Coronary artery disease; Quality of life; Multilevel analyses; Critical pathways
19.  The Hepatitis C Cascade of Care: Identifying Priorities to Improve Clinical Outcomes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97317.
As highly effective hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies emerge, data are needed to inform the development of interventions to improve HCV treatment rates. We used simulation modeling to estimate the impact of loss to follow-up on HCV treatment outcomes and to identify intervention strategies likely to provide good value for the resources invested in them.
We used a Monte Carlo state-transition model to simulate a hypothetical cohort of chronically HCV-infected individuals recently screened positive for serum HCV antibody. We simulated four hypothetical intervention strategies (linkage to care; treatment initiation; integrated case management; peer navigator) to improve HCV treatment rates, varying efficacies and costs, and identified strategies that would most likely result in the best value for the resources required for implementation.
Main measures
Sustained virologic responses (SVRs), life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), costs from health system and program implementation perspectives, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).
We estimate that imperfect follow-up reduces the real-world effectiveness of HCV therapies by approximately 75%. In the base case, a modestly effective hypothetical peer navigator program maximized the number of SVRs and QALE, with an ICER compared to the next best intervention of $48,700/quality-adjusted life year. Hypothetical interventions that simultaneously addressed multiple points along the cascade provided better outcomes and more value for money than less costly interventions targeting single steps. The 5-year program cost of the hypothetical peer navigator intervention was $14.5 million per 10,000 newly diagnosed individuals.
We estimate that imperfect follow-up during the HCV cascade of care greatly reduces the real-world effectiveness of HCV therapy. Our mathematical model shows that modestly effective interventions to improve follow-up would likely be cost-effective. Priority should be given to developing and evaluating interventions addressing multiple points along the cascade rather than options focusing solely on single points.
PMCID: PMC4026319  PMID: 24842841
20.  Cost-Effectiveness of an Intervention to Reduce HIV/STI Incidence and Promote Condom Use among Female Sex Workers in the Mexico–US Border Region 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11413.
Previous research demonstrated efficacy of a brief behavioral intervention to reduce incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, cities on Mexico's border with the US. We assessed this intervention's cost-effectiveness.
Methodology and Principal Findings
A life-time Markov model was developed to estimate HIV cases prevented, changes in quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), and costs per additional quality-adjusted life year gained (QALY), comparing (in US$2,009) no intervention to a once-only and annual intervention. Future costs and health benefits were discounted annually at 3%. Sensitivity analyses evaluated model robustness. We found that for a hypothetical 1,000 FSWs receiving the once-only intervention, there were 33 HIV cases prevented and 5.7 months of QALE gained compared to no intervention. The additional cost per QALY gained was US$183. For FSWs receiving the intervention annually, there were 29 additional HIV cases prevented and 4.5 additional months of QALE compared to the once-only intervention. The additional cost per QALY was US$1,075. When highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was included in the model, the annual intervention strategy resulted in net savings and dominated both once-only and no intervention strategies, and remained robust across extensive sensitivity analyses. Even when considering clinical benefits from HAART, ignoring added costs, the cost per QALY gained remained below three times the Mexican GDP per capita, and below established cost-effectiveness thresholds.
This brief intervention was shown to be cost-effective among FSWs in two Mexico-US border cities and may have application for FSWs in other resource-limited settings.
Trial Registration NCT00338845
PMCID: PMC2894974  PMID: 20617193
21.  Quality of Life in Depressed Patients in UK Primary Care: The FINDER Study 
Neurology and Therapy  2013;2(1-2):25-42.
To investigate the impact of depression and its treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a naturalistic, primary care setting in the UK.
The Factors Influencing Depression Endpoints Research (FINDER) study was a European, 6-month, prospective, observational study designed to estimate HRQoL in patients with a clinical diagnosis of depression. This paper examines primary care patients recruited in the UK. HRQoL was measured at baseline and at 3 and 6 months after starting antidepressant therapy using the Short Form 36 Health Status Survey and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D). Regression analysis was used to identify baseline and treatment variables independently and significantly associated with HRQoL. Further analyses included the effect of caseness for depression on HRQoL, the effect of moderate/severe pain at baseline on HRQoL, changes in overall pain, pain interference scores, and the use of different antidepressants by pain cohort.
A total of 608 patients was recruited from 58 centres and mean HRQoL was significantly below reported population norms at baseline. Most improvement in HRQoL was seen at 3 months for EQ-5D, with small additional improvement at 6 months. Worse HRQoL outcomes at 6 months were associated with higher somatic symptoms score, duration of depression at baseline, and switching within antidepressant classes. Patients meeting the criteria for caseness for depression, or with significant pain at baseline showed less improvement in HRQoL scores at 6 months.
Patients presenting with depression in primary care show reduced HRQoL compared to population norms. HRQoL improves during antidepressant treatment particularly within the first 3 months. Nonpainful somatic symptoms, socioeconomic factors, depression variables and switching within antidepressant class predict poor HRQoL outcome. Pain is a common symptom in depressed patients and remains after 6 months’ treatment. Pain and somatic symptoms should be assessed in all patients with depression in primary care.
PMCID: PMC4389033  PMID: 26000214
Antidepressant; Depression; Pain; Primary care; Quality of life
22.  Do the Washington Panel recommendations hold for Europe: investigating the relation between quality of life versus work-status, absenteeism and presenteeism 
The question of how to value lost productivity in economic evaluations has been subject of debate in the past twenty years. According to the Washington panel, lost productivity influences health-related quality of life and should thus be considered a health effect instead of a cost to avoid double counting. Current empirical evidence on the inclusion of income loss when valuing health states is not decisive. We examined the relationship between three aspects of lost productivity (work-status, absenteeism and presenteeism) and patient or social valuation of health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
Cross-sectional survey data were collected from a total of 830 respondents with a rheumatic disorder from four West-European countries. Health-related quality of life was expressed in either the European societal utility using EQ-5D-3L or the patient valuation using EQ-VAS. The impact of work-status (four categories), absenteeism (absent from paid work during the past three months), and presenteeism (QQ method) on EQ-5D utilities and VAS scores was examined in linear regression analyses taking into account demographic characteristics and disease severity (duration, pain and restriction).
The relationship between work-status, absenteeism or presenteeism and HRQoL was stronger for patient valuation than societal valuation. Compared to work-status and presenteeism the relationship between absenteeism and HRQoL was even less explicit. However, results for all measures of lost productivity are only marginally significant and negligible compared to the influence of disease-related restrictions.
This survey study in patients with a rheumatic disorder in four European countries, does not fully support the Washington panel’s claim that lost productivity is a significantly related with HRQoL, and this is even more apparent for absenteeism than for work-status and presenteeism. For West-European countries, there is no reason, to include absenteeism in the QALY. Findings need to be confirmed in other disease areas.
PMCID: PMC4405823  PMID: 25904824
Quality of life; Productivity losses; Valuation; Relation
23.  A cost effectiveness study of integrated care in health services delivery: a diabetes program in Australia 
Type 2 diabetes is rapidly growing as a proportion of the disease burden in Australia as elsewhere. This study addresses the cost effectiveness of an integrated approach to assisting general practitioners (GPs) with diabetes management. This approach uses a centralized database of clinical data of an Australian Division of General Practice (a network of GPs) to co-ordinate care according to national guidelines.
Long term outcomes for patients in the program were derived using clinical parameters after 5 years of program participation, and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Outcomes Model, to project outcomes for 40 years from the time of diagnosis and from 5 years post-diagnosis. Cost information was obtained from a range of sources. While program costs are directly available, and costs of complications can be estimated from the UKPDS model, other costs are estimated by comparing costs in the Division with average costs across the state or the nation. The outcome and cost measures are used derive incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
The clinical data show that the program is effective in the short term, with improvement or no statistical difference in most clinical measures over 5 years. Average HbA1c levels increased by less than expected over the 5 year period. While the program is estimated to generate treatment cost savings, overall net costs are positive. However, the program led to projected improvements in expected life years and Quality Adjusted Life Expectancy (QALE), with incremental cost effectiveness ratios of $A8,106 per life-year saved and $A9,730 per year of QALE gained.
The combination of an established model of diabetes progression and generally available data has provided an opportunity to establish robust methods of testing the cost effectiveness of a program for which a formal control group was not available. Based on this methodology, integrated health care delivery provided by a network of GPs improved health outcomes of type 2 diabetics with acceptable cost effectiveness, which suggests that similar outcomes may be obtained elsewhere.
PMCID: PMC2577097  PMID: 18834551
Medical care  2007;45(12):1162-1170.
A number of indexes measuring self-reported generic health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) using preference-weighted scoring are used widely in population surveys and clinical studies in the U.S.
To obtain age-by-gender norms for older adults on 6 generic HRQoL indexes in a cross-sectional U.S. population survey and compare age-related trends in HRQoL.
The EQ-5D, HUI2, HUI3, SF-36v2™ (used to compute SF-6D), QWB-SA and HALex were administered via telephone interview to each respondent in a national survey sample of 3,844 non-institutionalized adults aged 35-89. Persons aged 65 to 89 and telephone exchanges with high percentages of African Americans were over-sampled. Age-by-gender means were computed using sampling and post-stratification weights to adjust results to the U.S. adult population.
The six indexes exhibit similar patterns of age-related HRQoL by gender; however, means differ significantly across indexes. Females report slightly lower HRQoL than do males across all age groups. HRQoL appears somewhat higher for persons age 65-74 compared to people in the next younger age decade, as measured by all indexes.
Six HRQoL measures show similar but not identical trends in population norms for older U.S. adults. Results reported here provide reference values for 6 self-reported HRQoL indexes.
PMCID: PMC2647803  PMID: 18007166
Health-related quality-of-life; Health Status; EQ-5D; SF-6D; QWB-SA; SF-6D; Health Utilities Index; HUI2; HUI3; SF-36; Population survey; Adults; Aging; Patient-Reported Outcomes; Health Outcomes measures; Comparative studies
25.  Development and validation of the short version of the Psychological General Well-Being Index (PGWB-S) 
The PGWBI is a 22-item health-related Quality of Life (HRQoL) questionnaire developed in US which produces a self-perceived evaluation of psychological well-being expressed by a summary score. The PGWBI has been validated and used in many countries on large samples of the general population and on specific patient groups. Recently a study was carried out in Italy to reduce the number of items of the original questionnaire, yielding the creation of a shorter validated version of the questionnaire (PGWB-S). The purpose of the present paper is to describe the methods adopted and to report and discuss the relevance of results.
Data for this study were collected from 4 different population samples: two general population samples a student and a patient sample. On the basis of the results of the first (development) sample population, six relevant items were identified statistically from the original questionnaire and grouped to assemble a new summary scale. Following the newly created 6-item questionnaire was administered in three independent population samples. Descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to compare the performance of the long and short questionnaire, within and between population samples and across relevant subgroups. A further independent sample extracted by an ongoing cancer clinical trial served as final validation step.
Overall, the questionnaires were administered to 1443 subjects. Six items were selected by a step-wise approach to explain 90% of the variance of the summary measure of the original questionnaire.
Response rates reached 100%, while missing items were not observed. University students (n = 400) showed the highest mean value of the summary measure (75.3); while the patient sample (n = 28) had the lowest score (71.5). The correlation coefficients between the summary measures and the single items according to the different studies were satisfactory, reaching the highest estimates in the student sample. The internal consistency showed high values of the Cronbach's alpha coefficient (range 0.80 – 0.92) for all three study samples, coming close to the value of the coefficient established for the original questionnaire (0.94). A cross-validation in an independent sample of 755 cancer patients confirmed the item selection procedure and amount of variance explained by the new shorter questionnaire (ranging from 90. 2 to 95.1 %, across age and sex strata).
The newly identified PGWB-S showed good acceptability and validity for the use in various settings in Italy. The translation of the PGWB-S into different languages, and its use in other linguistic settings will add evidence about its cross-cultural validity.
PMCID: PMC1647268  PMID: 17105655

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