Researchers in a recent issue of Orthopedic Research and Review have concluded that medical devices, such as hip protectors and total joint arthroplasty implants, are cost-effective and significantly improve patients’ lives, confirming their socioeconomic value.
“Orthopedic devices such as knee and hip implants or hip protectors have the potential to improve people’s lives. They allow for greater flexibility, faster return to an active, independent lifestyle and reduced risk of future fractures to name but a few benefits,” Yves Verboven, executive director at the European Health Technology Institute for Socio-Economic Research (EHTI), stated in a press release.
In a review of 33 studies published between 1996 and 2008, researchers found that hip protectors reduced the mean fracture risk in patients by 4%. Total hip arthroplasty increased clinical scores in patients by 25-35 points, while total knee arthroplasty increased clinical scores by 15-56 points. Total joint procedures brought an average 2.01 quality-adjusted life-years, according to the abstract.
Regarding cost-effectiveness, hip protectors saved between $68 and $230 per person. However, the number of studies examining total hip and total knee arthroplasty was not sufficient to conclude cost savings, according to the abstract.
The researchers noted that the majority of the studies focused on direct costs, rather than indirect costs or the perspective of broader societal implications. Of six studies that claimed to use a societal perspective, only one examined those implications – the other five studies examined direct costs.
“At the same time, the research demonstrated that using these devices have the potential to provide good value for money and in case of hip protectors even being cost-saving. In order to understand fully the socioeconomic benefits of orthopedic devices, additional research is ongoing by EHTI,” Verboven said.
Sorenson C. Orthop Res Rev. 2012;doi:10.2147/ORR.S32453.
Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.