Norwich, UK – Pigmented skin lesions (moles) are a common reason for patients to consult their general practitioner (GP). While the vast majority are benign, some pigmented skin lesions may be the serious skin cancer, melanoma. An international team of researchers led from the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia examined a new diagnostic aid which uses a hand-held scanner to assess pigmented skin lesions in primary care, known as the MoleMate system.
In the article, “The Cost-Effectiveness of a Novel SIAscopic Diagnostic Aid for the Management of Pigmented Skin Lesions in Primary Care: A Decision-Analytic Model,” published in Value in Health, the researchers showed that using both the MoleMate system and best practice (systematic use of 2005 NICE guidelines) improved a general practitioner’s assessment of pigmented lesions compared with previous reports of usual care. Even though the MoleMate system increases overall referrals to secondary care, the health gain from the small number of additional cases detected may outweigh the extra cost of the additional referrals. Therefore, the MoleMate system may be cost-effective in primary care.
Ed Wilson, MSc, lecturer in health economics at the University of East Anglia and lead author on the paper says, “These results are interesting because we found that using the MoleMate system is associated with increased referrals to secondary care compared with best practice alone, which was the opposite of what we expected at the outset. Nevertheless, a small proportion of those extra patients may have previously undetected melanoma. This economic evaluation shows that under conventional decision rules adopted by the NHS, the health gain to those patients exceeds the cost of the extra unnecessary referrals, so using the MoleMate system in primary care may actually be quite a cost-effective diagnostic tool.”
MoleMate is a trademark of MedX Health.
Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide).
International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.
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