Aims: The aims of the study are to develop a cost-minimization analysis from the hospital perspective and a cost-effectiveness analysis from the third payer standpoint, based on direct estimates of costs and QOL associated with remote follow-ups, using Merlin@home and Merlin.net, compared with standard ambulatory follow-ups, in the management of ICD and CRT-D recipients.
Methods and results: Remote monitoring systems can replace ambulatory follow-ups, sparing human and economic resources, and increasing patient safety. TARIFF is a prospective, controlled, observational study aimed at measuring the direct and indirect costs and quality of life (QOL) of all participants by a 1-year economic evaluation. A detailed set of hospitalized and ambulatory healthcare costs and losses of productivity that could be directly influenced by the different means of follow-ups will be collected. The study consists of two phases, each including 100 patients, to measure the economic resources consumed during the first phase, associated with standard ambulatory follow-ups, vs. the second phase, associated with remote follow-ups.
Conclusion: Remote monitoring systems enable caregivers to better ensure patient safety and the healthcare to limit costs. TARIFF will allow defining the economic value of remote ICD follow-ups for Italian hospitals, third payers, and patients. The TARIFF study, based on a cost-minimization analysis, directly comparing remote follow-up with standard ambulatory visits, will validate the cost effectiveness of the Merlin.net technology, and define a proper reimbursement schedule applicable for the Italian healthcare system.
Trial registration: NCT01075516.