Millet, D. GP Online. Published online: 8 November 2016
Offering health checks to just the 8% of patients most at-risk of developing cardiovascular disease offers similar health benefits to national screening at a far lower cost, researchers have concluded. Offering health checks to all patients aged 40-74 in the national NHS Health Check is a ‘poor use of resources’, a modelling study has suggested.
A targeted approach to assessing cardiovascular disease in patients provides similar benefits to national screening, but at a fraction of the cost.
A total of 10,000 patients aged 30-74 who did not have existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes were involved in the study. Researchers from the University of Birmingham ran several simulations to model the costs of different approaches to screening patients. It showed that performing no case finding and inviting all the patients involved in the study for a cardiovascular check would yield 30.32 QALYs (quality-adjusted life years) – years lived without disease – at a cost of £706,000. In another simulation, they ranked the patients by cardiovascular risk and invited only the top 8% to attend a check. This yielded 17.52 QALYs, but cost considerably less at £162,000.
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