Cost-effectiveness and quality-of-life analysis of physician-staffed helicopter emergency medical services

Akkie Ringburg, Suzanne Polinder, Tamara Meulman, Ewout Steyerberg, Esther M.M. Van Lieshout, Petr Patka, Ed van Beeck, IB Schipper

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Background: The long-term health outcomes and costs of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) assistance remain Uncertain. The aim of this study Was to investigate the cost-effectiveness of HEMS assistance compared with emergency medical services (EMS). Methods. A prospective cohort. study was performed at a level I trauma centre. Quality-of-life measurements were obtained at 2 years after trauma, using the EuroQol - Five Dimensions (EQ-5D) as generic measure to determine health status. Health outcomes and costs were combined into costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Results: The study population receiving HEMS assistance was more severely injured than that receiving EMS assistance only. Over the 4-year study interval, HEMS assistance saved a total of 29 additional lives. No statistically significant differences in quality of life were found between assistance with HEMS or with EMS. Two years after trauma the mean EQ-5D utility score was 0.70 versus 0.71 respectively. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for HEMS versus EMS was (sic)28 327 per QALY. The sensitivity analysis showed a cost-effectiveness ratio between (sic)16000 and (sic)62000. Conclusion: In the Netherlands, the costs of HEMS assistance per QALY remain below the acceptance threshold. HEMS should therefore lie considered as cost effective.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1365-1370
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Research programs

  • EMC MUSC-01-47-01
  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

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