Optimising Cost-Effectiveness

Optimising cost-effectiveness in the management of osteoarthritis

Principal Investigator


  • Assoc Prof Paul Hansen (Economics Dept)
  • Assoc Prof M. Clare Robertson (Dept of Medicine)
  • Prof G. Peter Herbison (Dept of Preventive & Social Medicine)
  • Prof Kim Bennell (University of Melbourne)
  • Prof Anthony Harris (Monash University)
  • Assoc Prof G. Kelley Fitzgerald (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Assoc Prof 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 1/4 of the population by 2040, while the proportion of people over 85 will quadruple.

The proposed 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, USA).


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