dimarts, 20 de setembre de 2016

Who's affraid of economic evaluation?

El disseny institucional de l'avaluació econòmica
L'avaluació de polítiques públiques en l'àmbit sanitari: la millora de l'atenció a l’ictus a Catalunya com a exemple

Today I'll suggest a reading from the latest issue of Nota d'Economia. You'll find two articles of special interest for health economists. The first one, on institutional design will convince you that this is the tough part of the issue. Governments prefer to avoid difficult decisions, only a proper institucional design  will provide the best impact of economic evaluation. The second one is an excellent example of the impact of stroke prevention and care, or how organizational innovation may deliver social value of 372M€ in 7 years. Great, we need more initiatives like that, and studies that assess its impact.
This is the summary:
Aquest estudi mostra que després de les millores que han tingut lloc en l’atenció a l’ictus agut a Catalunya (Abilleira et al., 2009, 2011a, 2011b; Salvat-Plana et al., 2011) en el període 2005-2012 es van evitar 719 defuncions i es van guanyar 11.153 anys de vida, amb un valor social mínim de 353.164.622,08 euros (,07 euros màxim). Un cop eliminat l’efecte de l’augment de la incidència, el nombre de defuncions per ictus va ser de 919 i 11.760 anys de vida guanyats, amb un valor social mínim de 372.404.624,76 euros (,79 màxim)

PS. US is affraid of economic evaluation...have a look at JAMA

 Neus Martin

diumenge, 18 de setembre de 2016

The anxiety of inaccuracy

Conflicting Interpretation of Genetic Variants and Cancer Risk by Commercial Laboratories as Assessed by the Prospective Registry of Multiplex Testing

What happens if "one quarter of the clinical genetic results from commercially available multiplex cancer panels and reported at the PROMPT registry had conflicting interpretations" and if "36% of conflicting genetic tests results appeared to be clinically relevant, because they were either reported as pathogenic/likely pathogenic"? Does anybody care about it?.
I would suggest today you have a look at this article and your level of anxiety will increase suddenly.
Clinical data and genetic testing results were gathered from1,191 individuals tested for inherited cancer susceptibility and self-enrolled in PROMPT between September 2014 and October 2015. Overall,participants (603 genetic variants) had a result interpreted by more than one laboratory, including at least one submitted to ClinVar, and these were used as the final cohort for the current analysis.

Of the 603 variants, 221 (37%) were classified as a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), 191 (32%) as pathogenic, and 34 (6%) as benign. The interpretation differed among reporting laboratories for 155 (26%). Conflicting interpretations were most frequently reported for CHEK2 and ATM, followed by RAD51C, PALB2, BARD1, NBN, and BRIP1. Among all participants, 56 of 518 (11%) had a variant with conflicting interpretations ranging from pathogenic/likely pathogenic to VUS, a discrepancy that may alter medical management.
Clinical interpretation of genetic testing for increased cancer susceptibility as assessed by multiplex panels hinges on accurate curation and interpretation of variants. Discrepant interpretation of some genetic variants appears to be common.
Take care. The regulator remains on vacation, a never ending vacation.

PS. On genetic testing 

divendres, 16 de setembre de 2016

The costs of inaccuracy

The Lifetime Economic Burden of Inaccurate HER2 Testing: Estimating the Costs of False-Positive and False-Negative HER2 Test Results in US Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Diagnostic tests show different levels of false positive and negatives in the results. The impact of such unwanted results by physicians finally have an impact on health and quality of life of patients. You can check what does this means for HER-2 test in breast cancer in US in this article.

Patients with breast cancer whose tumors test positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) are treated with HER2-targeted therapies such as trastuzumab, but limitations with HER2 testing may lead to false-positive (FP) or false-negative (FN) results.

Among 226,870 women diagnosed with EBC in 2012, 3.12% (n = 7,070) and 2.18% (n = 4,955) were estimated to have had FP and FN test results, respectively. Approximately 8400 QALYs (discounted, lifetime) were lost among women not receiving trastuzumab because of FN results. The estimated incremental per-patient lifetime burden of FP or FN results was $58,900 and $116,000, respectively. The implied incremental losses to society were $417 million and $575 million, respectively.
That's a lot. Something should be done to improve accuracy in such tests. It was already known partially. Its cost-effectiveness is sensitive to HER-2 test properties.
However, as Kassirer said:

Absolute certainty in diagnosis is unattainable, no matter how much information we gather, how many observations we make, or how many tests we perform. A diagnosis is a hypothesis about the nature of a patient's illness, one that is derived from observations by the use of inference. Our task is not to attain certainty, but rather to reduce the level of diagnostic uncertainty enough to make optimal therapeutic decisions.
That's it.

Rafel Joan

dilluns, 12 de setembre de 2016

The US political gridlock on cost-effectiveness

A Framework for Payer Assessment of the Value of New Technologies:A US Approach

USA is well known for its prominent interest in avoiding cost-effectiveness as we know in certain european countries. They talk about comparative effectiveness research, because it fits with their current priorities: What works best? and let's the cost for another day. Forget trade-offs.
If you want to know the recent stuff on the topic, have a look at this article. You'll notice three steps: clinical care value, managing affordability and health system value. It makes sense as a first step. In our country we don't have such official estimates. The next step should be to introduce cost and equity considerations.

Xavier Rodés

dimecres, 7 de setembre de 2016

A healthcare expenditure mess, and nobody cares about it

Let's imagine an alleged State. All its citizens pay taxes under the same Tax Code. Health Benefits are the same under the Health Act. And spending on health care according to geography, can reach 52% more in Basque country compared to Andalusia. This is not new. Many decades having the same figure and nobody cares about it.

This is an easy table to understand health policy making in a failed state. Catalonia spends 4,7% of GDP on health, other sources say 5,5%. Anyway, you'll not find an OECD country with similar figures. After a decade we are spending the same amount per citizen than in 2006, 1.120 €. I will not add anything to this mess. There is only an increasing need to disconnect. Is there any MP in the room?
PS. I'm not arguing that every country has to spend the same, I'm just saying that it is not legally possible to deliver the same benefits with such different budgets. Therefore we are unequal before law. This is the usual legal uncertainty of a failed state.

dimarts, 6 de setembre de 2016

Physicians' standards of conduct

Professing the Values of MedicineThe Modernized AMA Code of Medical Ethics

JAMA has decided to start JAMA Professionalism, a new department.
The goal of the articles in this section is to help physicians fulfill required competencies on this topic. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties definition, professionalism is “…a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to diverse patient populations.” Taking responsibility for executing professional responsibility seems intuitive enough. But what does it mean to adhere to ethical principles? How are the ethical principles defined? 
Good questions. And the answers for US physicians are in the new AMA Code of Medical Ethics.
A multi-year effort to modernise that has provided an interesting outcome. You can check for example, regarding prioritisation of resources, what should be done? in chapter 11 you'll find the answers. A good suggestion for our physicians' associations and their outdated codes.