Economic evaluation of robot-assisted training versus an enhanced upper limb therapy programme or usual care for patients with moderate or severe upper limb functional limitation due to stroke: results from the RATULS randomised controlled trial.
Fernandez-Garcia C., Ternent L., Homer TM., Rodgers H., Bosomworth H., Shaw L., Aird L., Andole S., Cohen D., Dawson J., Finch T., Ford G., Francis R., Hogg S., Hughes N., Krebs HI., Price C., Turner D., Van Wijck F., Wilkes S., Wilson N., Vale L.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether robot-assisted training is cost-effective compared with an enhanced upper limb therapy (EULT) programme or usual care. DESIGN: Economic evaluation within a randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Four National Health Service (NHS) centres in the UK: Queen's Hospital, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust; Northwick Park Hospital, London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust; Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; and North Tyneside General Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. PARTICIPANTS: 770 participants aged 18 years or older with moderate or severe upper limb functional limitation from first-ever stroke. INTERVENTIONS: Participants randomised to one of three programmes provided over a 12-week period: robot-assisted training plus usual care; the EULT programme plus usual care or usual care. MAIN ECONOMIC OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean healthcare resource use; costs to the NHS and personal social services in 2018 pounds; utility scores based on EQ-5D-5L responses and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Cost-effectiveness reported as incremental cost per QALY and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. RESULTS: At 6 months, on average usual care was the least costly option (£3785) followed by EULT (£4451) with robot-assisted training being the most costly (£5387). The mean difference in total costs between the usual care and robot-assisted training groups (£1601) was statistically significant (p<0.001). Mean QALYs were highest for the EULT group (0.23) but no evidence of a difference (p=0.995) was observed between the robot-assisted training (0.21) and usual care groups (0.21). The incremental cost per QALY at 6 months for participants randomised to EULT compared with usual care was £74 100. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves showed that robot-assisted training was unlikely to be cost-effective and that EULT had a 19% chance of being cost-effective at the £20 000 willingness to pay (WTP) threshold. Usual care was most likely to be cost-effective at all the WTP values considered in the analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The cost-effectiveness analysis suggested that neither robot-assisted training nor EULT, as delivered in this trial, were likely to be cost-effective at any of the cost per QALY thresholds considered. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN69371850.