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      Cost-minimization analysis to support the HTA of Radiofrequency Echographic Multi Spectrometry (REMS) in the diagnosis of osteoporosis


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          A timely diagnosis of osteoporosis is key to reducing its growing clinical and economic burden. Radiofrequency Echographic Multi Spectrometry (REMS), a new diagnostic technology using an ultrasound approach, has been recognized by scientific associations as a facilitator of patients’ care pathway. We aimed at evaluating the costs of REMS vs. the conventional ionizing technology (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, DXA) for the diagnosis of osteoporosis from the perspective of the Italian National Health Service (NHS) using a cost-minimization analysis (CMA).


          We carried out structured qualitative interviews and a structured expert elicitation exercise to estimate healthcare resource consumption with a purposeful sample of clinical experts. For the elicitation exercise, an Excel tool was developed and, for each parameter, experts were asked to provide the lowest, highest and most likely value. Estimates provided by experts were averaged with equal weights. Unit costs were retrieved using different public sources.


          Considering the base-case scenario (most likely value), the cost of professionals amounts to €31.9 for REMS and €48.8 for DXA, the cost of instrumental examinations and laboratory tests to €45.1 for REMS and €68.2 for DXA. Overall, in terms of current costs, REMS is associated with a mean saving for the NHS of €40.0 (range: €27.6-71.5) for each patient.


          REMS is associated with lower direct healthcare costs with respect to DXA. These results may inform policy-makers on the value of the REMS technology in the earlier diagnosis for osteoporosis, and support their decision regarding the reimbursement and diffusion of the technology in the Italian NHS.

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          Most cited references30

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          Diagnosis of osteoporosis and assessment of fracture risk.

          John Kanis (2002)
          The diagnosis of osteoporosis centres on the assessment of bone mineral density (BMD). Osteoporosis is defined as a BMD 2.5 SD or more below the average value for premenopausal women (T score < -2.5 SD). Severe osteoporosis denotes osteoporosis in the presence of one or more fragility fractures. The same absolute value for BMD used in women can be used in men. The recommended site for diagnosis is the proximal femur with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Other sites and validated techniques, however, can be used for fracture prediction. Although hip fracture prediction with BMD alone is at least as good as blood pressure readings to predict stroke, the predictive value of BMD can be enhanced by use of other factors, such as biochemical indices of bone resorption and clinical risk factors. Clinical risk factors that contribute to fracture risk independently of BMD include age, previous fragility fracture, premature menopause, a family history of hip fracture, and the use of oral corticosteroids. In the absence of validated population screening strategies, a case finding strategy is recommended based on the finding of risk factors. Treatment should be considered in individuals subsequently shown to have a high fracture risk. Because of the many techniques available for fracture risk assessment, the 10-year probability of fracture is the desirable measurement to determine intervention thresholds. Many treatments can be provided cost-effectively to men and women if hip fracture probability over 10 years ranges from 2% to 10% dependent on age.
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            Osteoporosis in the European Union: medical management, epidemiology and economic burden

            Summary This report describes the epidemiology, burden, and treatment of osteoporosis in the 27 countries of the European Union (EU27). Introduction Osteoporosis is characterized by reduced bone mass and disruption of bone architecture, resulting in increased risk of fragility fractures which represent the main clinical consequence of the disease. Fragility fractures are associated with substantial pain and suffering, disability and even death for affected patients and substantial costs to society. The aim of this report was to characterize the burden of osteoporosis in the EU27 in 2010 and beyond. Methods The literature on fracture incidence and costs of fractures in the EU27 was reviewed and incorporated into a model estimating the clinical and economic burden of osteoporotic fractures in 2010. Results Twenty-two million women and 5.5 million men were estimated to have osteoporosis; and 3.5 million new fragility fractures were sustained, comprising 610,000 hip fractures, 520,000 vertebral fractures, 560,000 forearm fractures and 1,800,000 other fractures (i.e. fractures of the pelvis, rib, humerus, tibia, fibula, clavicle, scapula, sternum and other femoral fractures). The economic burden of incident and prior fragility fractures was estimated at € 37 billion. Incident fractures represented 66 % of this cost, long-term fracture care 29 % and pharmacological prevention 5 %. Previous and incident fractures also accounted for 1,180,000 quality-adjusted life years lost during 2010. The costs are expected to increase by 25 % in 2025. The majority of individuals who have sustained an osteoporosis-related fracture or who are at high risk of fracture are untreated and the number of patients on treatment is declining. Conclusions In spite of the high social and economic cost of osteoporosis, a substantial treatment gap and projected increase of the economic burden driven by the aging populations, the use of pharmacological interventions to prevent fractures has decreased in recent years, suggesting that a change in healthcare policy is warranted.
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              Consensus development conference: diagnosis, prophylaxis, and treatment of osteoporosis.


                Author and article information

                Glob Reg Health Technol Assess
                Glob Reg Health Technol Assess
                Global & Regional Health Technology Assessment
                6 February 2023
                Jan-Dec 2023
                : 10 ,2023
                : 1-11
                [1 ] Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CERGAS) SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan - Italy
                [2 ] Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca sulle Malattie dell’Osso, Florence - Italy
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CERGAS) SDA Bocconi School of Management Via Sarfatti 10 20136 Milano - Italy ludovica.borsoi@ 123456unibocconi.it

                Global & Regional Health Technology Assessment - www.aboutscience.eu/grhta

                © 2023 The Authors. This article is published by AboutScience and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Commercial use is not permitted and is subject to Publisher’s permissions. Full information is available at www.aboutscience.eu

                : 15 September 2022
                : 15 January 2023
                Original Research Article

                cost-minimization analysis,dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (dxa),economic evaluation,health technology assessment (hta),osteoporosis,radiofrequency echographic multi spectrometry (rems)


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