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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 21, Issue 2, 2018. Pages: 59-69
Published Online: 1 June 2018

Copyright © 2018 ICMPE.


 

Cost-effectiveness Analysis of a Stepped, Collaborative and Coordinated Health Care Network for Patients with Somatoform Disorders (Sofu-Net)

Thomas Grochtdreis,1* Christian Brettschneider,2 Meike Shedden-Mora,3 Katharina Piontek,4 Hans-Helmut König,5 Bernd Löwe6

1PhD, MSc, Research Associate, Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, Hamburg Center for Health Economics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
2PhD, Dipl Ges-Ök, Research Associate, Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, Hamburg Center for Health Economics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
3PhD, Dipl Psych, Research Associate, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
4PhD, Dipl Psych, Research Associate, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg & Institute for Medical Psychology, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
5MD, MPH, Professor for health services research and health economics, Director of Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, Hamburg Center for Health Economics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
6MD, Dipl Psych, Professor for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy, Director of Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

* Correspondence to: Dr. Thomas Grochtdreis, Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, Hamburg Center for Health Economics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.
Tel.: +49-40-7410 52405
Fax.: +49-40-7410 40261
E-Mail: t.grochtdreis@uke.de

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Source of Funding: This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant number 01KQ1002B) within the project ``psychenet: Hamburg Network for Mental Health''. Trial registration: ISRCTN registry Identifier: ISRCTN55870770.

Abstract
 

Background: Somatoform disorders are highly prevalent mental disorders causing impairment and large economic burden. In order to improve the diagnosis and management of affected patients, a health care network for somatoform disorders (Sofu-Net) was implemented in primary care.

Aims of the Study: The aim of the study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of a stepped, collaborative and coordinated health care network for somatoform and functional disorders (Sofu-Net) compared with regular primary care physician (PCP) practices in German primary care from a societal perspective.

Methods: This study was part of a 6-month controlled, prospective, non-randomized, observer-blinded cluster cohort trial. Participants were recruited from 33 PCP practices in Hamburg, Germany. The health care network was a collaboration of PCPs, psychotherapists, inpatient clinics and a specialized outpatient clinic. Participants in the control group received usual care. A cost-effectiveness analysis, using treatment response as measure of effectiveness, was performed. Uncertainty in cost-effectiveness was analyzed using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves.

Results: In total, n=218 patients (n=119 patients in the intervention group and n=99 patients in the control group) were included in the study. At 6 months, patients within the Sofu-Net group did not differ significantly from the control group with regard to costs (533; standard error 941) and treatment response (--10.3%). For Sofu-Net, the probability of being cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay (WTP) of 10,000 per additional response to treatment was only 31%.

Discussion: Sofu-Net is unlikely to be cost-effective. Even for high WTP, the probability of cost-effectiveness was low. The results were robust to variation of costs included in the analysis as well as when only complete cases were included in the analysis. The most important limitations of the study were that randomization could not be established at patient level and at practice level and that the study design did not allow measurement of costs at baseline.

Conclusion: Patients with severe somatic symptoms did not benefit from the health care network. Sofu-Net might have reduced costs in patients with moderate somatic symptoms.

Implications for Further Research: Owing to the limitations and due to a short follow-up of this study, further cost-effectiveness analyses with high methodological quality and a follow-up of at least one year are needed in order to produce results that are more reliable.

Received 14 November 2017; accepted 8 March 2018

Copyright 2018 ICMPE