Background: India faces a high burden of diabetes and hypertension. Currently, there is a dearth of economic evidence about screening programmes, affected age groups, and frequency of screening for these diseases in Indian settings. We assessed the cost effectiveness of population-based screening for diabetes and hypertension compared with current practice in India for different scenarios, according to type of screening test, population age group, and pattern of health-care use.
Methods: We used a hybrid decision model (decision tree and Markov model) to estimate the lifetime costs and consequences from a societal perspective. A meta-analysis was done to assess the effectiveness of population-based screening. Primary data were collected from two Indian states (Haryana and Tamil Nadu) to assess the cost of screening. The data from the National Health System Cost Database and the Costing of Health Services in India study were used to determine the health system cost of diagnostic tests and cost of treating diabetes or hypertension and their complications. A total of 962 patients were recruited to assess out-of-pocket expenditure and quality of life. Parameter uncertainty was evaluated using univariate and multivariable probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Finally, we estimated the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained with alternative scenarios of scaling up primary health care through a health and wellness centre programme for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension.
Findings: The incremental cost per QALY gained across various strategies for population-based screening for diabetes and hypertension ranged from US$0·02 million to $0·03 million. At the current pattern of health services use, none of the screening strategies of annual screening, screening every 3 years, and screening every 5 years was cost-effective at a threshold of 1-time per capita gross domestic product in India. In the scenario in which health and wellness centres provided primary care to 20% of patients who were newly diagnosed with uncomplicated diabetes or hypertension, screening the group aged between 30 and 65 years every 5 years or 3 years for either diabetes, hypertension, or a comorbid state (both diabetes and hypertension) became cost-effective. If the share of treatment for patients with newly diagnosed uncomplicated diabetes or hypertension at health and wellness centres increases to 70%, from the existing 4% at subcentres and primary health centres, annual population-based screening becomes a cost saving strategy.
Interpretation: Population-based screening for diabetes and hypertension in India could potentially reduce time to diagnosis and treatment and be cost-effective if it is linked to comprehensive primary health care through health and wellness centres for provision of treatment to patients who screen positive.
Funding: Department of Health Research, Government of India.
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.