Cost-effectiveness of a minimal intervention for stress-related sick leave in general practice: results of an economic evaluation alongside a pragmatic randomised control trial

K Uegaki, I Bakker, Bruijne M De, Beek A Van der, B Terluin, Harm Van Marwijk, M Heymans, W Stalman, Mechelen W Van

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    BACKGROUND: Stress-related mental health problems negatively impact quality of life and productivity. Worldwide, treatment is often sought in primary care. Our objective was to determine whether a general practitioner-based minimal intervention for workers with stress-related sick leave (MISS) was cost-effective compared to usual care (UC). METHODS: We conducted an economic evaluation from a societal perspective. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and resource use were measured by the EuroQol and cost diaries, respectively. Uncertainty was estimated by 95{\%} confidence intervals, cost-effectiveness planes and acceptability curves. Sensitivity analyses and ancillary analyses based on preplanned subgroups were performed. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in costs or QALYs were observed. The mean incremental cost per QALY was -euro 7356 and located in the southeast quadrant of the cost-effectiveness plane, whereby the intervention was slightly more effective and less costly. For willingness-to-pay (lambda) thresholds from euro 0 to euro 100,000, the probability of MISS being cost-effective was 0.58-0.90. For the preplanned subgroup of patients diagnosed with stress-related mental disorders, the incremental ratio was -euro 28,278, again in the southeast quadrant. Corresponding probabilities were 0.92 or greater. LIMITATIONS: Non-significant findings may be related to poor implementation of the MISS intervention and low power. Also, work-presenteeism and unpaid labor were not measured. CONCLUSIONS: The minimal intervention was not cost-effective compared to usual care for a heterogeneous patient population. Therefore, we do not recommend widespread implementation. However, the intervention may be cost-effective for the subgroup stress-related mental disorders. This finding should be confirmed before implementation for this subgroup is considered
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-187
    Number of pages11
    Issue number1573-2517 (Electronic)
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • Adult
    • Antidepressive Agents
    • Confidence Intervals
    • Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • Depressive Disorder
    • Major
    • Female
    • Health
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Mental Disorders
    • Mental Health
    • Middle Aged
    • Netherlands
    • Patients
    • Primary Health Care
    • Probability
    • Quality of Life
    • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
    • Questionnaires
    • Research
    • Sick Leave
    • Stress
    • Psychological
    • Uncertainty
    • Young Adult
    • drug therapy
    • economics
    • etiology
    • methods
    • psychology
    • therapeutic use


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