Measuring the Value of Health Care Procedures and Treatments FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: “Modeling the Indirect Economic Implications of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Treatment,” published in Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation

Orthopedic FAQ

Q: Who developed the methodology research?

A: The methodology research, titled “Modeling the Indirect Economic Implications of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Treatment,” was developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in collaboration with research partners KNG Health Consulting, LLC (KNG Health) and its partner, IHS Global Inc. The published research appears in BioMed Central’s open access journal, Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation.

Q: What is the purpose of the research and why is it important?

A: It is critical to assess the value of common health services and procedures in an increasingly cost-conscious health care environment. The AAOS methodology research aims to demonstrate the social and economic value of orthopaedic surgery and to provide a more complete picture of the burden of musculoskeletal disorders and the benefits of treatment.

Q: What data was used to assess the economic value of orthopaedic surgery and how was it analyzed?

A: Using data from more than 185,000 people included in the National Health Information Survey (NHIS), the researchers measured the relationship between physical limitations associated with MSK disorders and indirect indicators of cost, including employability, missed days of work, household income and disability income. Using the NHIS findings and data from existing clinical research, researchers developed a unique method to analyze the data and estimate the overall value, including the impact on indirect costs, of specific orthopaedic procedures.

Q. What makes this methodology paper different from other research?

A: By modeling the relationship between MSK-related limitations and indirect economic outcomes, the paper provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of the economic impact of MSK disorders and the value of specific orthopaedic surgery procedures. Many studies have quantified the burden of musculoskeletal disorders and cost-effectiveness of treatment, but few studies address the economic value of services provided to treat these disorders. While the standard cost effectiveness analysis will look at direct medical costs, such as the costs associated with interventions and patients as far as outcomes, quality of life, etc., this paper looks at indirect costs, or the costs not directly associated with the medical treatment but posed by the condition, such as the ability to work, receiving disability, etc.

Q: What did the research conclude?

A: The methodology research found physical impairments associated with MSK disorders reduce the likelihood of employment and household income, and increase missed work days and the likelihood of receiving supplemental income for disability for those who are employed. Appropriate treatment of MSK disorders has the potential to significantly reduce indirect costs.

 Q: How will the research be used in the future and what is its impact on health care costs?

A: The AAOS methodology research will be applied to several common musculoskeletal conditions to measure the value of surgical intervention. This research provides a foundation for assessing the value of procedures and health services and has the potential to be applied to other medical specialties to ultimately ensure that we are receiving maximum value for health care dollars spent.

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