Interpretation of trial-based economic evaluations of musculoskeletal physical therapy interventions

Gisela Cristiane Miyamoto, Angela Jornada Ben, Judith E. Bosmans, Maurits van Tulder, Christime Lin, Cristina Maria Nunes Cabral, Hanneke van Dongen

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Abstract

Background
As resources for healthcare are scarce, decision-makers increasingly rely on economic evaluations when making reimbursement decisions about new health technologies, such as drugs, procedures, devices, and equipment. Economic evaluations compare the costs and effects of two or more interventions. Musculoskeletal disorders have a high prevalence and result in high levels of disability and high costs worldwide. Because physical therapy interventions are usually the first line of treatment for musculoskeletal disorders, economic evaluations of such interventions are becoming increasingly important for stakeholders in the field of physical therapy, including physical therapists, decision-makers, and reseachers. However, economic evaluations are relatively difficult to interpret for the majority of stakeholders.

Objective
To support physical therapists, decision-makers, and researchers in the field of physical therapy interpreting trial-based economic evaluations and translating the results of such studies to clinical practice.

Methods
The design, analysis, and interpretation of economic evaluations performed alongside randomized controlled trials are discussed. To further illustrate and explain these concepts, we use a case study assessing the cost-effectiveness of exercise therapy compared to standard advice in patients with musculoskeletal disorders.

Conclusions
Economic evaluations are increasingly being used in healthcare decision-making. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that their design, conduct, and analysis are state-of-the-art and that their interpretation is adequate. This masterclass will help physical therapists, decision-makers, and researchers in the field of physical therapy to critically appraise the quality and results of trial-based economic evaluations and to apply the results of such studies to their own clinical practice and setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-529
Number of pages16
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Volume25
Issue number5
Early online date21 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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