Cost-effectiveness analysis of N95 respirators and medical masks to protect healthcare workers in China from respiratory infections.BMC Infect Dis. 2017 07 03; 17(1):464.BI
There are substantial differences between the costs of medical masks and N95 respirators. Cost-effectiveness analysis is required to assist decision-makers evaluating alternative healthcare worker (HCW) mask/respirator strategies. This study aims to compare the cost-effectiveness of N95 respirators and medical masks for protecting HCWs in Beijing, China.
We developed a cost-effectiveness analysis model utilising efficacy and resource use data from two cluster randomised clinical trials assessing various mask/respirator strategies conducted in HCWs in Level 2 and 3 Beijing hospitals for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 influenza seasons. The main outcome measure was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per clinical respiratory illness (CRI) case prevented. We used a societal perspective which included intervention costs, the healthcare costs of CRI in HCWs and absenteeism costs.
The incremental cost to prevent a CRI case with continuous use of N95 respirators when compared to medical masks ranged from US $490-$1230 (approx. 3000-7600 RMB). One-way sensitivity analysis indicated that the CRI attack rate and intervention effectiveness had the greatest impact on cost-effectiveness.
The determination of cost-effectiveness for mask/respirator strategies will depend on the willingness to pay to prevent a CRI case in a HCW, which will vary between countries. In the case of a highly pathogenic pandemic, respirator use in HCWs would likely be a cost-effective intervention.