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INFORMS study: OR models of hepatitis B prove decisive in treating millions in US, China
Date:7/26/2011

receive treatment. They also found it cost-effective to vaccinate those in close contact with the infected so they can be protected from contagion.

Using a common public health metric, they estimate that it costs $36,000$40,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained to screen and provide treatment for adult Asian and Pacific Islanders. In the U.S., an intervention that costs less than $50,000 per QALY gained is generally considered to be cost effective.

The total cost of treating chronically infected people in the U.S. is more than 100 times greater than the cost of the initial screening program. The study provided the convincing evidence that led to the 2010 Institute of Medicine report on Hepatitis and Liver Cancer, as well as the 2011 Health and Human Services' Action Plan to combat the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis and recommend routine screening of foreign born including Asians in the U.S. for chronic hepatitis B infection.

"Doing Good with Good O.R. [Operations Research]: Supporting Cost-Effective Hepatitis B Interventions" is by David W. Hutton and Margaret L. Brandeau of the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and Samuel K. So of the Stanford University School of Medicine's Asian Liver Center and Department of Surgery. It appears in a special issue of the INFORMS journal Interfaces that is dedicated to the new, growing field of humanitarian applications in operations research, which applies analytical and mathematical models to benefit the public sector.

"Doing Good with Good O.R." is a program initiated by INFORMS that encourages operations researchers to make major improvements in the public sector using their specialized skills.

With budgets for healthcare chronically tight, the authors evaluated several potential hepatitis B screening, vaccination, and treatment interventions in order to identify the most cost-effective as measured in health benefits per dollar spent.

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Contact: Barry List
barry.list@informs.org
443-757-3560
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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