Cost-Effectiveness of the SEM Glove
The SEM Glove drew a lot of attention at the Neurological Rehab Show at the ExCel this week. It's robotic technology but with some features never seen before.
The SEM Glove is a robotic medical device that adds power and endurance to people with a weak grip or impaired hand function. Its proving valuable to many people with a neurological condition or recovering from hand trauma.
The Swedish manufacturers Bioservo Technologies have created this haptic technology and in the UK and Ireland it is represented by Anatomical Concepts (UK) and Fixxl Ltd. Amongst the related research studies underway is a cost-effectiveness analysis of the impact of the device.
The current design requires the user to have an ability to flex and extend the fingers so is not for all hand impairment situations. In working with the glove, we consult with potential users first of all to determine suitability. As an assistive device it either "functions or it doesn't" from the user point of view - but what difference does success mean in economic terms?
An interim economic impact study was conducted in Sweden with 6 patients in a cross-over design with relevant outcome measures taken at 4 week intervals. A more detailed analysis with a greater number of users is underway.
Two patients were found not to be suitable for the device and with the remaining four the outcomes were judged very cost-effective or moderately cost-effective judged by their QALY score (Quality Adjusted Life Years)
Among the patients that indicated an improvement in QALYs during the study period the cost per gained QALY varied from 86 500 to 523 000 Swedish kronor per QALY (€9,200 to €55,900) with the average being 290 000 Swedish kronor per gained QALY (€31,000). According to guidelines from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) a cost per QALY below 100 000 Swedish kronor (€10,700) is seen as very cost-effective, and a cost per QALY below 500 000 Swedish kronor (€53,400) is seen as cost-effective.