Access to health care for older people with intellectual disability: a modelling study to explore the cost-effectiveness of health checks

Annette Bauer, Laurence Taggart, Jill Rasmussen, Chris Hatton, Lesley Owen, Martin Knapp

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Whilst people with intellectual disability grow older, evidence has emerged internationally about the largely unmet health needs of this specific ageing population. Health checks have been implemented in some countries to address those health inequalities. Evaluations have focused on measuring process outcomes due to challenges measuring quality of life outcomes. In addition, the cost-effectiveness is currently unknown. As part of a national guideline for this population we sought to explore the likely cost-effectiveness of annual health checks in England.
Decision-analytical Markov modelling was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a strategy, in which health checks were provided for older people with intellectual disability, when compared with standard care. The approach we took was explorative. Individual models were developed for a selected range of health conditions, which had an expected high economic impact and for which sufficient evidence was available for the modelling. In each of the models, hypothetical cohorts were followed from 40 yrs of age until death. The outcome measure was cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) were calculated. Costs were assessed from a health provider perspective and expressed in 2016 GBP. Costs and QALYs were discounted at 3.5%. We carried out probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Data from published studies as well as expert opinion informed parameters.
Health checks led to a mean QALY gain of 0.074 (95% CI 0.072 to 0.119); and mean incremental costs of £4787 (CI 95% 4773 to 5017). For a threshold of £30,000 per QALY, health checks were not cost-effective (mean ICER £85,632; 95% CI 82,762 to 131,944). Costs of intervention needed to reduce from £258 to under £100 per year in order for health checks to be cost-effective.
Whilst findings need to be considered with caution as the model was exploratory in that it was based on assumptions to overcome evidence gaps, they suggest that the way health systems deliver care for vulnerable populations might need to be re-examined. The work was carried out as part of a national guideline and informed recommendations about system changes to achieve more equal health care provisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number706 (2019)
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Jun 2019


  • Intellectual disability
  • older peopel
  • helth care
  • cost effectiveness
  • modelling
  • Early diagnosis
  • Ageing
  • Assessment
  • Health inequalities
  • Prevention
  • Decision-analytic modelling
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Health checks


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