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How cost-effective is nutrition care delivered in primary healthcare settings? A systematic review of trial-based economic evaluations

Barnes K, Szewczyk Z, Kelly J, Campbell K, Ball L (2021) Nutrition Reviews Oct 4 doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuab082 

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Context: Nutrition care is an effective lifestyle intervention for the treatment and prevention of many noncommunicable diseases. Primary care is a high-value setting in which to provide nutrition care.

Objective: The objective of this review was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of nutrition care interventions provided in primary care settings.

Data sources: Medline, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EconLit, and the National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) were searched from inception to May 2021.

Data extraction: Data extraction was guided by the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) reporting guidelines. Randomized trials of nutrition interventions in primary care settings were included in the analysis if incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were reported. The main outcome variable incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) and reported interpretations were used to categorize interventions by the cost-effectiveness plane quadrant.

Results: Of 6837 articles identified, 10 were included (representing 9 studies). Eight of the 9 included studies found nutrition care in primary care settings to be more costly and more effective than usual care . High study heterogeneity limited further conclusions.

Conclusion: Nutrition care in primary care settings is effective, though it requires investment; it should, therefore, be considered in primary care planning. Further studies are needed to evaluate the long-term cost-effectiveness of providing nutrition care in primary care settings.


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