Cost-effective preventive interventions are necessary for tackling the increasing number of hip fractures, which are frequently occuring as a serious consequence of osteoporosis. Several interventions have been available for preventing and treating osteoporosis. The aim of this study was to systematically review and critically appraise studies that assessed cost-effectiveness of hip protectors for the prevention of hip fractures and to investigate the effects of age, gender and residence situation on cost-effectiveness. A systematic review was conducted in order to identify economic evaluation studies examining the hip protector solely or compared to no treatment according to the Preferred Reported Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Synthesis of results was performed to observe trends between the studies. Methodological quality of the studies was assessed by the use of the Quality of Health Economic Studies (QHES) instrument. A total of 15 economic evaluation studies were included for analysis. The methodological quality was high in most studies (13/15). The hip protector was solely evaluated in three studies and within 12 other studies compared with no intervention. All studies that investigated the cost-effectiveness in long-term care facilities revealed that hip protector use is a cost-effective strategy for the prevention of hip fractures in elderly. Cost-effectiveness was also observed in two studies that provided hip protectors in a geriatric hospital ward. Four studies included both community-dwelling residents and residents living in a long-term care facility in their study. These studies showed more variability regarding cost-effectiveness. One study did not report information regarding the residence situation of their cohort, but also observed cost-effectiveness. In conclusion, this review suggests that hip protectors are a cost-effective approach in the prevention of hip fractures in populations with high risk of hip fractures especially in long-term care facilities and a geriatric ward in a hospital.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Hip fractures; Hip protectors; Osteoporosis.