Cost-Effectiveness and Value of Information Analysis of Nutritional Support for Preventing Pressure Ulcers in High-risk Patients: Implement Now, Research Later

Haitham W. Tuffaha, Shelley Roberts, Wendy Chaboyer, Louisa G. Gordon, Paul A. Scuffham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Scopus citations


    Background: Pressure ulcers are a major cause of mortality, morbidity, and increased healthcare cost. Nutritional support may reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers in hospitalised patients who are at risk of pressure ulcer and malnutrition.

    Objectives: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of nutritional support in preventing pressure ulcers in high-risk hospitalised patients, and to assess the value of further research to inform the decision to implement this intervention using value of information analysis (VOI).

    Methods: The analysis was from the perspective of Queensland Health, Australia using a decision model with evidence derived from a systematic review and meta-analysis. Resources were valued using 2014 prices and the time horizon of the analysis was one year. Monte Carlo simulation was used to estimate net monetary benefits (NB) and to calculate VOI measures.

    Results: Compared with standard hospital diet, nutritional support was cost saving at AU$425 per patient, and more effective with an average 0.005 quality-adjusted life years (QALY) gained. At a willingness-to-pay of AU$50,000 per QALY, the incremental NB was AU$675 per patient, with a probability of 87 % that nutritional support is cost-effective. The expected value of perfect information was AU$5 million and the expected value of perfect parameter information was highest for the relative risk of developing a pressure ulcer at AU$2.5 million. For a future trial investigating the relative effectiveness of the interventions, the expected net benefit of research would be maximised at AU$100,000 with 1,200 patients in each arm if nutritional support was perfectly implemented. The opportunity cost of withholding the decision to implement the intervention until the results of the future study are available would be AU$14 million.

    Conclusions: Nutritional support is cost-effective in preventing pressure ulcers in high-risk hospitalised patients compared with standard diet. Future research to reduce decision uncertainty is worthwhile; however, given the opportunity losses associated with delaying the implementation, “implement and research” is the approach recommended for this intervention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)167-179
    Number of pages13
    JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Health Policy

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