METHODS: We will conduct a scoping review to identify and map evidence on how health equity is considered in economic evaluations of health interventions. We will search relevant electronic, gray literature and key journals. We developed a search strategy using text words and Medical Subject Headings terms related to health equity and economic evaluations of health interventions. Articles retrieved will be uploaded to reference manager software for screening and data extraction. Two reviewers will independently screen the articles based on their titles and abstracts for inclusion, and then will independently screen a full text to ascertain final inclusion. A simple numerical count will be used to quantify the data and a content analysis will be conducted to present the narrative; that is, a thematic summary of the data collected.
DISCUSSION: The results of this scoping review will provide a comprehensive overview of the current evidence on how health equity is considered in economic evaluations of health interventions and its research gaps. It will also provide key information to decision-makers and policy-makers to understand ways to include health equity into the prioritization of health interventions when aiming for a more equitable distribution of health resources.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: This protocol was registered with Open Science Framework (OSF) Registry on August 14, 2019 (https://osf.io/9my2z/registrations).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was performed in 10 databases from inception until February 2018. All economic evaluations assessing the economic evaluation of telemedicine in diabetes were eligible for inclusion. We subsequently evaluated the study quality in terms of effectiveness measures, cost measure, economic model, as well as time horizon.
RESULTS: Of the 1877 studies identified, 14 articles were included in our final review. The healthcare providers' fees are a major predictor for total cost. In particular, the use of telemedicine for retinal screening was beneficial and cost-effective for diabetes management, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio between $113.48/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and $3,328.46/QALY (adjusted to 2017 inflation rate). Similarly, the use of telemonitoring and telephone reminders was cost-effective in diabetes management.
CONCLUSIONS: Among all telemedicine strategies examined, teleophthalmology was the most cost-effective intervention. Future research is needed to provide evidence on the long-term experience of telemedicine and facilitate resource allocation.