Objectives: The aim of this study was to review all published economic evaluations of guideline-based care for chronic wounds and to assess how useful these studies are for decision making in health services.
Methods: Embase, PubMed, Scopus, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) were searched on April 16th, 2018. We included studies that evaluated the economic impact and health outcomes associated with implementing evidence-based guidelines as a bundle of care for the prevention and/or treatment of chronic wounds. Information was extracted from each eligible study and organized by the type of chronic wound. The quality of published economic evaluation studies was assessed using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS).
Results: A total of 24 economic evaluation studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 12 applied decision analytic models. The compliance with the CHEERS checklist ranged between 43 and 83%.
Limitations: We may have missed some economic evaluation studies despite the use of broad search terms. The quality assessment was conducted based on judgment. Using the CHEERS checklist may reflect the way evaluations were reported rather than conducted.
Conclusions and implications of key findings: We found that guideline-based care may be cost-saving or cost-effective in most circumstances. The quality and usefulness of reviewed studies for decision making were variable. Better information and higher-quality economic evaluations will increase decision makers' confidence to promote guideline-based care.
Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD42017051859.