Cost-effectiveness of a shared computerized decision support system for diabetes linked to electronic medical records

J Am Med Inform Assoc. May-Jun 2012;19(3):341-5. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000371. Epub 2011 Nov 3.


Background: Computerized decision support systems (CDSSs) are believed to enhance patient care and reduce healthcare costs; however the current evidence is limited and the cost-effectiveness remains unknown.

Objective: To estimate the long-term cost-effectiveness of a CDSS linked to evidence-based treatment recommendations for type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Using the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model, changes in factors (eg, HbA1c) from a randomized controlled trial were used to estimate cost-effectiveness. The cost of implementation, development, and maintenance of the core dataset, and projected diabetes-related complications were included. The base case assumed a 1-year treatment effect, 5% discount rate, and 40-year time horizon. Univariate, one-way sensitivity analyses were carried out by altering different parameter values. The perspective was the Ontario Ministry of Health and costs were in 2010 Canadian dollars.

Results: The cost of implementing the intervention was $483,699. The one-year intervention reduced HbA1c by 0.2 and systolic blood pressure by 3.95 mm Hg, but increased body mass index by 0.02 kg/m², resulting in a relative risk reduction of 14% in the occurrence of amputation. The model estimated that the intervention resulted in an additional 0.0117 quality-adjusted life year; the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $160,845 per quality-adjusted life-year.

Conclusion: The web-based prototype decision support system slightly improved short-term risk factors. The model predicted moderate improvements in long-term health outcomes. This disease management program will need to develop considerable efficiencies in terms of costs and processes or improved effectiveness to be considered a cost-effective intervention for treating patients with type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Electronic Health Records / economics*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Records, Personal / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Economic
  • Ontario
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reminder Systems