Cost-effectiveness of in-house vs contracted-out vision rehabilitation services in England

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Context: Vision rehabilitation (VR) services in England promote users’ health and wellbeing, and support all aspects of daily living through two dominant models: in-house and contracted-out VR services. The two models differ in terms of service delivery, but they share a common aim to enhance service users’ quality of life and reduce utilisation of social and health care services.

Objective: This study investigated the cost-effectiveness of in-house vs contracted-out VR services.

Methods: The analysis was performed from a social care perspective and a social and health care perspective. The analyses used data from a 6-month follow-up observational study of VR users. Regression analysis was used to estimate differential outcomes and costs, taking user and local authority characteristics into account.

Findings: At a cost-effectiveness threshold of £13,000 and £30,000 per QALY, in-house VR services have a high probability (greater than 90% vs contracted-out VR services) of being cost-effective from a social care perspective. In-house VR services have a lower probability (lower than XX% vs contracted-out VR services) of being cost-effective from a social and health care perspective.

Limitations: Observational studies are prone to selection bias compared to randomised controlled trials due to confounding. We employed econometric techniques that control for several user and LA characteristics to reduce potential bias.

Implications: Contracted-out VR services may be better value for money compared to in-house VR services in the context of integrated social and health care due to substantial healthcare resource savings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-130
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020

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