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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 20, Issue 3, 2017. Pages: 131-136
Published Online: 1 September 2017

Copyright © 2017 ICMPE.


 

Clinicians' Views on Therapeutic Outcomes  of Systemic Interventions and on the Ability of the EQ-5D to Capture these Outcomes

Saskia J. Schawo,1* Werner B.F. Brouwer,2 Leona Hakkaart3

1Institute for Medical Technology Assessment & Institute of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Institute for Medical Technology Assessment & Institute of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; PhD; Associate Professor Economic Evaluations in Health Care, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
3Institute for Medical Technology Assessment & Institute of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Prof.dr.; Professor of Health Economics and Dean of Institute of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

*Correspondence to: Saskia J. Schawo, Institute for Medical Technology Assessment & Institute of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel.: +31-10-4088 567
Fax: +31-10-4089 094
E-mail: schawo@bmg.eur.nl,

Source of Funding: The study was funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), grant number 157004007. SS is currently working at Parnassia Groep, where various mental health treatments are provided, among which systemic interventions. LH and WB have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Abstract

Systemic interventions are increasingly used to treat adolescents with problems of substance use and delinquency. Clients’ progress may include broad and non-medical effects. When performing economic evaluations of these interventions, the common methodology may not capture these effects equally well as effects of purely medical interventions. This explorative study aims to investigate which outcomes clinicians consider relevant to the therapeutic success of systemic interventions and whether they consider these outcomes sufficiently captured by the commonly used EQ-5D instrument. Semi-structured interviews were performed with seven clinicians in the Netherlands. Clinicians considered several EQ-5D dimensions relevant, yet they indicated that the instrument lacked systemic dimensions (e.g. family relations and relations with others) and addiction-related aspects. The outcomes highlight the need for enhancements of the current health economic methodology for evaluating systemic interventions to capture therapeutic goals of these interventions.

 

Background: Systemic interventions focus on improvements of interactions between clients and their environments, and are increasingly used to treat adolescents with problems of substance use and delinquency. Clients' progress may include broad and non-medical effects. When performing economic evaluations of these interventions, the common outcome of costs per quality adjusted life year (cost/QALY) may not capture all of these effects.

Aims of the Study: The current study is an explorative study. It aims to investigate which outcomes clinicians consider relevant to the therapeutic success of systemic interventions and whether these, according to them, are sufficiently captured by the EQ-5D instrument.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were performed with seven clinicians at two mental health institutions in the Netherlands. Clinicians were asked to list the most relevant outcomes of systemic interventions. They were asked whether they considered the EQ-5D dimensions to sufficiently capture these outcomes or if they missed aspects or outcome domains.

Results: The clinicians mentioned several broad effects relevant for the evaluation of systemic interventions. These were aspects of family functioning, parental functioning, social competencies, school attendance, etc. They considered several EQ-5D dimensions relevant (i.e. in particular `usual activities' and `anxiety/depression'), yet they indicated that the instrument lacked systemic dimensions (i.e. family relations and relations with others) and addiction-related aspects.

Discussion: The interviewed clinicians considered several dimensions of the EQ-5D useful in evaluating effects of systemic interventions, yet they expressed the need to add additional dimensions particularly relevant to systemic aspects to the instrument when performing economic evaluations of systemic interventions. The explorative analysis was limited by the small number of interviewed clinicians. Furthermore, a relatively high proportion of clinicians were specialized in Multidimensional Family Therapy, a type of systemic intervention particularly used to treat adolescents with substance use disorders and related problems. Hence the importance of addiction-related improvements may have been over-emphasized in this group of respondents.

Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: Practical implications of the current study may be the need for enhancements of the current health economic methodology for evaluating systemic interventions as to capture additional aspects specifically relevant to these interventions. This may lead to different choices in the use of instruments for the evaluation of treatment progress and success in clinical practice.

Implications for Health Policies: By improving the health economic toolkit to evaluate systemic interventions one may provide policy recommendations in line with the therapeutic goals of the interventions.

Implications for Further Research: Further research could be directed at investigating the suitability of other available instruments than the EQ-5D for economic evaluations of systemic interventions.

Received 28 November 2016; accepted 13 July 2017

Copyright 2017 ICMPE