Economic Evaluation of Web-Based Compared with In-Person Follow-up After Total Joint Arthroplasty

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Abstract

Background:

We previously demonstrated the feasibility and clinical effectiveness of a web-based assessment following total hip or total knee arthroplasty. The purpose of the present study was to conduct an economic evaluation to compare a web-based assessment with in-person follow-up.

Methods:

Patients who had undergone total joint arthroplasty at least twelve months previously were randomized to complete a web-based follow-up or visit the clinic for the usual follow-up. We recorded travel costs and time associated with each option. We followed patients for one year after the web-based or in-person follow-up evaluation and documented any resource use related to the joint arthroplasty. We conducted cost analyses from the health-care payer (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) and societal perspectives. All costs are presented in 2012 Canadian dollars.

Results:

A total of 229 patients (118 in the web-based group, 111 in the usual-care group) completed the study. The mean cost of the assessment from the societal perspective was $98 per patient for the web-based assessment and $162 per patient for the usual method of in-person follow-up. The cost for the web-based assessment was significantly lower from the societal perspective (mean difference, $−64; 95% confidence interval [CI], $−79 to $−48; p < 0.01) and also from the health-care payer perspective (mean difference, $−27; 95% CI, $−29 to $−25; p < 0.01).

Conclusions:

The web-based follow-up assessment had a lower cost per patient compared with in-person follow-up from both societal and health-care payer perspectives.

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