Objectives: To examine the heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness analyses of patient-tailored complex interventions. Methods: Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed on data from a randomized controlled trial evaluating a patient-tailored case management strategy for patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). LCA was conducted on detailed process variables representing service variation in the intervention group. Features of the identified latent classes were compared for consistency with baseline demographic, clinical, and economic characteristics for each class. Classes for the control group, corresponding to the identified latent classes for the intervention group, were identified using multinomial logistic regression. Cost-utility analyses were then conducted at the class level, and uncertainty surrounding the point estimates was assessed by probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Results: The LCA identified three distinct classes: the psychologically care class, the extensive COPD care class, and the limited COPD care class. Patient baseline characteristics were in line with the features identified in the LCA. Evaluation of cost-effectiveness revealed highly disparate results, and case management for only the extensive COPD care class appeared cost-effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £26,986 per quality-adjusted life-year gained using the threshold value set by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. Conclusions: Findings indicate that researchers evaluating patient-tailored complex interventions need to address both supply-side variation and demand-side heterogeneity to link findings with outcome. The article specifically proposes the use of LCA because it is believed to have the potential to enable more appropriate targeting of complex care strategies.
- case management
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- complex interventions
- economic evaluation
- latent class analysis