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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Modeling the Cost-Effectiveness of Health Care Systems for Alcohol Use Disorders: How Implementation of eHealth Interventions Improves Cost-Effectiven

Informing policy decisions about the cost-effectiveness of health care systems (ie, packages of clinical interventions) is probably best done using a modeling approach. To this end, an alcohol model (ALCMOD) was developed.

The aim of ALCMOD is to estimate the cost-effectiveness of competing health care systems in curbing alcohol use at the national level. This is illustrated for scenarios where new eHealth technologies for alcohol use disorders are introduced in the Dutch health care system.

ALCMOD assesses short-term (12-month) incremental cost-effectiveness in terms of reductions in disease burden, that is, disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and health care budget impacts.

Introduction of new eHealth technologies would substantially increase the cost-effectiveness of the Dutch health care system for alcohol use disorders: every euro spent under the current system returns a value of about the same size (€1.08, ie, a “surplus” of 8 euro cents) while the new health care system offers much better returns on investment, that is, every euro spent generates €1.62 in health-related value.

Based on the best available evidence, ALCMOD's computations suggest that implementation of new eHealth technologies would make the Dutch health care system more cost-effective. This type of information may help (1) to identify opportunities for system innovation, (2) to set agendas for further research, and (3) to inform policy decisions about resource allocation.

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