The cost-effectiveness of a novel SIAscopic diagnostic aid for the management of pigmented skin lesions in primary care: a decision-analytic model

Value Health. Mar-Apr 2013;16(2):356-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2012.12.008.


Objectives: Pigmented skin lesions are commonly presented in primary care. Appropriate diagnosis and management is challenging because the vast majority are benign. The MoleMate system is a handheld SIAscopy scanner integrated with a primary care diagnostic algorithm aimed at improving the management of pigmented skin lesions in primary care.

Methods: This decision-model-based economic evaluation draws on the results of a randomized controlled trial of the MoleMate system versus best practice (ISRCTN79932379) to estimate the expected long-term cost and health gain of diagnosis with the MoleMate system versus best practice in an English primary care setting. The model combines trial results with data from the wider literature to inform long-term prognosis, health state utilities, and cost.

Results: Results are reported as mean and incremental cost and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained, incremental cost-effectiveness ratio with probabilistic sensitivity analysis, and value of information analysis. Over a lifetime horizon, the MoleMate system is expected to cost an extra £18 over best practice alone, and yield an extra 0.01 QALYs per patient examined. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is £1,896 per QALY gained, with a 66.1% probability of being below £30,000 per QALY gained. The expected value of perfect information is £43.1 million.

Conclusions: Given typical thresholds in the United Kingdom (£20,000-£30,000 per QALY), the MoleMate system may be cost-effective compared with best practice diagnosis alone in a primary care setting. However, there is considerable decision uncertainty, driven particularly by the sensitivity and specificity of MoleMate versus best practice, and the risk of disease progression in undiagnosed melanoma; future research should focus on reducing uncertainty in these parameters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Decision Trees
  • Dermoscopy / economics*
  • Dermoscopy / instrumentation
  • Dermoscopy / methods
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • England
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / economics*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Nevus, Pigmented / diagnosis
  • Nevus, Pigmented / economics
  • Primary Health Care / economics*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / economics
  • Spectrophotometry / economics
  • Spectrophotometry / instrumentation
  • Spectrophotometry / methods