Intervention Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of a Successful Telephonic Intervention to Promote Diabetes Control

  1. Elizabeth A. Walker, PHD, RN4
  1. 1Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  3. 31199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds, New York, New York
  4. 4Department of Medicine/Endocrinology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  1. Corresponding author: Elizabeth A. Walker, elizabeth.walker{at}


OBJECTIVE To characterize the costs and cost-effectiveness of a telephonic behavioral intervention to promote glycemic control in the Improving Diabetes Outcomes study.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Using the provider perspective and a time horizon to the end of the 1-year intervention, we calculate the costs of a telephonic intervention by health educators compared with an active control (print) intervention to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. We calculate the cost-effectiveness ratios for a reduction of one percentage point in hemoglobin A1c (A1C), as well as for one participant to achieve an A1C <7%. Base-case and sensitivity analysis results are presented.

RESULTS The intervention cost $176.61 per person randomized to the telephone group to achieve a mean 0.36 percentage point of A1C improvement. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $490.58 per incremental percentage point of A1C improvement and $2,617.35 per person over a 1-year intervention in achieving the A1C goal. In probabilistic sensitivity analysis, the median (interquartile range) of per capita cost, cost per percentage point reduction in A1C, and cost per person achieving the A1C goal of <7% are $175.82 (147.32–203.56), $487.75 (356.50–718.32), and $2,312.88 (1,785.58–3,220.78), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS The costs of a telephonic intervention for diabetes self-management support are moderate and commensurate to the modest associated improvement in glycemic control.

  • Received January 9, 2012.
  • Accepted May 18, 2012.

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