Optimising Cost-Effectiveness

Optimising cost-effectiveness in the management of osteoarthritis

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor J Haxby Abbott (Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgical Sciences)

Co-Investigators: Professor Tony Blakely (Department of Medicine and Public Health), Associate Professor Paul Hansen (Economics Dept), Professor Elena Losina (Harvard Medical School), Professor Kim Bennell (University of Melbourne), Professor Robin Gauld (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine), Professor Anthony Harris (Monash University), Professor David Hunter (University of Sydney), Associate Professor G Kelley Fitzgerald, Associate Professor Kenneth Smith (University of Pittsburgh)

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects over 40% of adults aged over 45 years, and more than 80% of over 65s. Knee and hip osteoarthritis are among the most common causes of pain and disability in older adults. Total annual healthcare costs attributable to OA in New Zealand – estimated to be $555M in 2010 – are rising rapidly as the population ages. Accompanying this is an increasing disability burden on society, estimated to be around $2.1B due to lost productivity and other indirect financial costs in 2010. In total, that is over $500 per New Zealander, per year, or around 1.2% of GDP. Helping to manage the burden of OA is especially important for the future in which we will see the proportion of people over 65 increase to quarter of the population by 2040, while the proportion of people over 85 will quadruple.

These projects respond to a key health and disability challenge: Cost-effective, sustainable solutions are urgently required to get better value from healthcare spending on musculoskeletal conditions, particularly OA.

With an international, multi-disciplinary team of experts, Dr Abbott will investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical decisions in managing OA in linked, high-quality, funded clinical trials, in three different countries (NZ, Australia, and the USA).


HRCThis research is funded by a project grant and The Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship of the Health Research Council of New Zealand.




Department of Surgical Sciences Orthopaedic Surgery University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine