Cost-effectiveness of an integrated 'fast track' rehabilitation service for multi-trauma patients: A non-randomized clinical trial in the Netherlands

Ben F. M. Wijnen*, Bea Hemmen, Ans I. E. Bouman, Henk van de Meent, Ton Ambergen, Peter R. G. Brink, Henk A. M. Seelen, Silvia M. A. A. Evers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



Multidisciplinary rehabilitation has been recommended for multi-trauma patients, but there is only low-quality evidence to support its use with these patients. This study examined whether a Supported Fast track multi-Trauma Rehabilitation Service (Fast Track) was costeffective compared to conventional trauma rehabilitation service (Care As Usual) in patients with multi-trauma from a societal perspective with a one-year follow-up.


An economic evaluation alongside a prospective, multi-center, non-randomized, controlled clinical study, was conducted in the Netherlands. The primary outcome measure was the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Generic Quality of Life and Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) of the patients were derived using the Short-form 36 Health Status Questionnaire.

Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratios (ICERs) were stated in terms of costs per unit of FIM improvement and costs per QALY. To investigate the uncertainty around the ICERs, non-parametric bootstrapping was used.


In total, 132 patients participated, 65 Fast Track patients and 67 Care As Usual patients. Mean total costs per person were (sic)18,918 higher in the Fast Track group than in the Care As Usual group. Average incremental effects on the FIM were 3.7 points (in favor of the Fast Track group) and the incremental (extra) bootstrapped costs were (sic)19,033, resulting in an ICER for cost per FIM improvement of (sic)5,177. Care As Usual dominated Fast Track in cost per QALY as it gave both higher QALYs and lower costs. All sensitivity analyses attested to the robustness of our results.


This study demonstrated that a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program for multi-trauma patients according to the supported fast track principle is promising but cost-effectiveness evidence remains inconclusive. In terms of functional outcome, Fast Track was more expensive but yielded also more effects compared to the Care As Usual group. Looking at the costs per QALYs, unfavorable ICERs were found. Given the lack of a willingness-to-pay threshold for functional recovery and the relatively short time horizon, it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about the first.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0213980
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019


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