Orthopaedic Trauma in Low-resource Settings: Measuring Value

J Orthop Trauma. 2019 Nov;33 Suppl 7:S11-S15. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001619.


There is increasing recognition of both the impact and value of trauma care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, data supporting the value of musculoskeletal trauma care specifically are lacking. This review discusses methods of economic analysis relevant to low-resource settings and provides a review of cost studies related to orthopaedic trauma care in these settings. In general, microcosting methods are preferred in LMICs because of the lack of databases with aggregate cost data. It is important that studies use a societal perspective that includes the indirect costs of treatment in addition to direct costs of medical care. Cost-effectiveness studies most commonly report cost per disability-adjusted life year, particularly in LMICs, but quality-adjusted life years are an acceptable alternative that is based on more empiric data. There are solid economic data supporting potential cost savings and improved outcomes with intramedullary nailing for femoral shaft fractures. Trauma care hospitals and educational initiatives have also been found to be highly cost-effective. However, very little data exist to support other interventions in orthopaedic trauma. Orthopaedic surgeons should strive to understand these methodologies and support the conduct of rigorous economic analysis to better establish the value of musculoskeletal trauma care in LMICs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries*
  • Fracture Fixation / economics*
  • Fractures, Bone / economics
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Poverty*