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The cost-effectiveness of a lifestyle physical activity intervention in addition to a work style intervention on recovery from neck and upper limb symptoms and pain reduction in computer workers
  1. Claire M Bernaards1,2,3,
  2. Judith E Bosmans4,
  3. Vincent H Hildebrandt1,3,
  4. Maurits W van Tulder4,5,
  5. Martijn W Heymans4,6
  1. 1Body@Work Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Occupational and Public Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3TNO Quality of Life, Prevention and Health, Department of Health Promotion, Leiden, The Netherlands
  4. 4Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  5. 5Health Technology Assessment Unit, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University medical center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Claire M Bernaards, TNO Quality of Life, Prevention and Health, Department of Health Promotion, PO Box 2215, 2301 CE Leiden, The Netherlands; claire.bernaards{at}tno.nl

Abstract

Objectives To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a work style (WS) intervention and a work style plus physical activity (WSPA) intervention in computer workers with neck and upper limb symptoms compared with usual care.

Methods An economic evaluation was conducted from an employer's perspective and alongside a randomised controlled trial in which 466 computer workers with neck and upper limb symptoms were randomised to a WS group (N=152), a WSPA group (N=156) or a usual care group (N=158). Total costs were compared to the effects on recovery and pain intensity. In the primary analyses, missing effect data were imputed using multiple imputation techniques.

Results Total costs during the 12-month intervention and follow-up period were €1907 (WS), €2811 (WSPA) and €2310 (usual care). Differences between groups were not statistically significant. Neither intervention was more effective than usual care in improving overall recovery. The WS intervention was more effective than usual care in reducing current pain, average pain and worst pain in the past 4 weeks, but the WSPA intervention was not. The acceptability curve showed that when a company is willing to pay approximately €900 for a 1-point reduction in average pain (scale from 0 to 10), the probability of cost-effectiveness compared to usual care is 95%. Similar results were observed for current and worst pain.

Conclusions This study shows that the WS intervention was not cost-effective for improving recovery but was cost-effective for reducing pain intensity, although this reduction was not clinically significant. The WSPA intervention was not cost-effective compared with usual care.

Trial registration number: ISRCTN87019406.

  • Ergonomics
  • occupational health practice
  • psychology
  • repetitive strain injury
  • health promotion

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Footnotes

  • Funding This study was funded by Body@Work Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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