A cost-effectiveness analysis of a multicenter randomized-controlled trial comparing restrictive strategy versus usual care in patients with gallstones showed that savings by restrictive strategy could not compensate for the lower proportion of pain-free patients. However, four subgroups based on combined stratification factors resulted in less cholecystectomies and more pain-free patients in restrictive strategy (female-low volume-BMI > 30, female-low volume-BMI25-30, female-high volume-BMI25-30, and male-low volume-BMI < 25). The aim of this study was to explore the budget impact from a hospital healthcare perspective of implementation of restrictive strategy in these subgroups.
Data of the SECURE-trial were used to calculate the hospital budget impact with a time horizon of four years. Based on a study into practice variation, about 19% of hospitals treat patients according restrictive strategy. This represents the proportion of patients treated according restrictive strategy at the start of budget period. Three subanalyses were performed: a scenario analysis in which 30% of patients fall under a restrictive strategy in clinical practice, a sensitivity analysis in which we calculated the budget impact with the low and high 95% confidence limits of the expected future number of patients, a subgroup analysis in which restrictive strategy was also implemented in two additional subgroups (male-high volume-BMI 30).
Budget impact analysis showed savings of €6.7-€15.6 million (2.2%-5.6%) for the period 2021-2024/2025 by implementing the restrictive strategy in the four subgroups and provision of usual care in other patients. Sensitivity analysis with 30% of patients already in the restrictive strategy at the start of the budget period, resulted in savings between €5.4 million and €14.0 million (1.7%-5.0%).
Performing a restrictive strategy for selection of cholecystectomy in subgroups of patients and provision of usual care in other patients will result in a lower overall hospital budget needed to treat patients with abdominal pain and gallstones.
The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR4022. Registered on June 5, 2013.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.