Qualitative research to inform economic modelling: a case study in older people’s views on implementing the NICE falls prevention guideline
Kwon J., Lee Y., Young T., Squires H., Harris J.
Background: High prevalence of falls among older persons makes falls prevention a public health priority. Yet community-based falls prevention face complexity in implementation and any commissioning strategy should be subject to economic evaluation to ensure cost-effective use of healthcare resources. The study aims to capture the views of older people on implementing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on community-based falls prevention and explore how the qualitative data can be used to inform commissioning strategies and conceptual modelling of falls prevention economic evaluation in the local area of Sheffield. Methods: Focus group and interview participants (n = 27) were recruited from Sheffield, England, and comprised falls prevention service users and eligible non-users of varying falls risks. Topics concerned key components of the NICE-recommended falls prevention pathway, including falls risk screening, multifactorial risk assessment and treatment uptake and adherence. Views on other topics concerning falls prevention were also invited. Framework analysis was applied for data analysis, involving data familiarisation, identifying themes, indexing, charting and mapping and interpretation. The qualitative data were mapped to three frameworks: (1) facilitators and barriers to implementing the NICE-recommended pathway and contextual factors; (2) intervention-related causal mechanisms for formulating commissioning strategies spanning context, priority setting, need, supply and demand; and (3) methodological and evaluative challenges for public health economic modelling. Results: Two cross-component factors were identified: health motives of older persons; and professional competence. Participants highlighted the need for intersectoral approaches and prioritising the vulnerable groups. The local commissioning strategy should consider the socioeconomic, linguistic, geographical, legal and cultural contexts, priority setting challenges, supply-side mechanisms spanning provider, organisation, funding and policy (including intersectoral) and health and non-health demand motives. Methodological and evaluative challenges identified included: incorporating non-health outcomes and societal intervention costs; considering dynamic complexity; considering social determinants of health; and conducting equity analyses. Conclusions: Holistic qualitative research can inform how commissioned falls prevention pathways can be feasible and effective. Qualitative data can inform commissioning strategies and conceptual modelling for economic evaluations of falls prevention and other geriatric interventions. This would improve the structural validity of quantitative models used to inform geriatric public health policies.