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Review
June 18, 2020

Cost-effectiveness of Leveraging Social Determinants of Health to Improve Breast, Cervical, and Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Systematic Review

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of the Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Office of the Associate Director for Policy and Strategy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(9):1434-1444. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.1460
Key Points

Question  What are the costs of interventions leveraging social determinants of health to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening, and are they cost-effective?

Findings  In this systematic review of 30 unique economic evaluations, the median intervention cost per participant was $123.87, the median incremental cost per additional person screened was $250.37, and the median incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained was $3120.00, which was considerably lower than an established conservative threshold for cost-effectiveness.

Meaning  This study found that interventions focused on social determinants of health to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening appear to be cost-effective for underserved, vulnerable populations in the United States.

Abstract

Importance  Screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers in the United States has remained below the Healthy People 2020 goals, with evidence indicating that persistent screening disparities still exist. The US Department of Health and Human Services has emphasized cross-sectoral collaboration in aligning social determinants of health with public health and medical services. Examining the economics of intervening through these novel methods in the realm of cancer screening can inform program planners, health care providers, implementers, and policy makers.

Objective  To conduct a systematic review of economic evaluations of interventions leveraging social determinants of health to improve screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer to guide implementation.

Evidence Review  A systematic literature search for economic evidence was performed in MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Global Health, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, EconLit, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), and Sociological Abstracts from January 1, 2004, to November 25, 2019. Included studies intervened on social determinants of health to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening in the United States and reported intervention cost, incremental cost per additional person screened, and/or incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Risk of bias was assessed along with qualitative assessment of quality to ensure complete reporting of economic measures, data sources, and analytic methods. In addition, included studies with modeled outcomes had to define structural elements and sources for input parameters, distinguish between programmatic and literature-derived data, and assess uncertainty.

Findings  Thirty unique articles with 94 706 real and 4.21 million simulated participants satisfied our inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. The median intervention cost per participant was $123.87 (interquartile interval [IQI], $24.44-$313.19; 34 estimates). The median incremental cost per additional person screened was $250.37 (IQI, $44.67-$609.38; 17 estimates). Studies that modeled final economic outcomes had a median incremental cost per person of $122.96 (IQI, $46.96-$124.80; 5 estimates), a median incremental screening rate of 15% (IQI, 14%-20%; 5 estimates), and a median incremental QALY per person of 0.04 years (IQI, 0.006-0.06 year; 5 estimates). The median incremental cost per QALY gained of $3120.00 (IQI, $782.59-$33 600.00; 5 estimates) was lower than $50 000, an established, conservative threshold of cost-effectiveness.

Conclusions and Relevance  Interventions focused on social determinants of health to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening appear to be cost-effective for underserved, vulnerable populations in the United States. The increased screening rates were associated with earlier diagnosis and treatment and in improved health outcomes with significant gains in QALYs. These findings represent the latest economic evidence to guide implementation of these interventions, which serve the dual purpose of enhancing health equity and economic efficiency.

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