Long-Term Health and Economic Value of Improved Mobility among Older Adults in the United States

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Background: Mobility impairments have substantial physical and mental health consequences, resulting in diminished quality of life. Most studies on the health economic consequences of mobility limitations focus on short-term implications. Objectives: To examine the long-term value of improving mobility in older adults. Methods: Our six-step approach used clinical trial data to calibrate mobility improvements and estimate health economic outcomes using a microsimulation model. First, we measured improvement in steps per day calibrated with clinical trial data examining hylan G-F 20 viscosupplementation treatment. Second, we created a cohort of patients 51 years and older with osteoarthritis. In the third step, we estimated their baseline quality of life. Fourth, we translated steps-per-day improvements to changes in quality of life using estimates from the literature. Fifth, we calibrated quality of life in this cohort to match those in the trial. Last, we incorporated these data and parameters into The Health Economic Medical Innovation Simulation model to estimate how mobility improvements affect functional status limitations, medical expenditures, nursing home utilization, employment, and earnings between 2012 and 2030. Results: In our sample of 12.6 million patients, 66.7% were female and 70% had a body mass index of more than 25 kg/m2. Our model predicted that a 554-step-per-day increase in mobility would reduce functional status limitations by 5.9%, total medical expenditures by 0.9%, and nursing home utilization by 2.8%, and increase employment by 2.9%, earnings by 10.3%, and monetized quality of life by 3.2% over this 18-year period. Conclusions: Interventions that improve mobility are likely to reduce long-run medical expenditures and nursing home utilization and increase employment.




Kabiri, M., Brauer, M., Shafrin, J., Sullivan, J., Gill, T. M., & Goldman, D. P. (2018). Long-Term Health and Economic Value of Improved Mobility among Older Adults in the United States. Value in Health, 21(7), 792–798. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2017.12.021

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