Cost-effectiveness of point-of-care interventions to tackle inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in high- and middle-income countries: a systematic review.
D'hulster E., De Burghgraeve T., Luyten J., Verbakel JY.
BackgroundAntimicrobial resistance (AMR) is propagated by widespread inappropriate use of antibiotics. In response, point-of-care interventions (POCIs) have been developed in primary care to preserve antibiotic effectiveness. Many of these POCIs are adopted based on their clinical value. However, assessment of their cost-effectiveness is crucial as well.ObjectivesTo summarize the evidence on cost-effectiveness of POCIs aimed at tackling inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions in primary care in middle- and high-income countries. We also evaluate the quality of the evidence with particular attention to how these economic evaluations faced the challenge of capturing the impact of these POCIs on AMR.MethodsSix scientific databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, NHS EED, NHS HTA, the Cochrane Library) were searched for eligible articles published from 1999 to 2022. Their quality was appraised by means of the Drummond and CHEERS checklist.ResultsTwenty-nine articles met the selection criteria. Using their own (implicit) definitions of cost-effectiveness, evidence reported that point-of-care testing, scoring tools, electronic interventions, communication training, and multidimensional and educational interventions are more cost-effective than standard care. In contrast, studies found dipstick testing and audit-and-feedback interventions to be not cost-effective. Data synthesis took a narrative approach as eligible studies were not similar and/or reliable enough to pool their results through meta-analysis.ConclusionsMore high-quality evidence is needed to attain a thorough understanding of the cost-effectiveness of POCIs. Heterogeneity in terms of interventions and efficiency measures complicates comparing and generalizing results. Methodological recommendations are urgently needed to economically evaluate POCIs, focusing on how AMR should be accounted for.