Objective: To assess whether the multitherapy antenatal education ‘CTLB’ (Complementary Therapies for Labour and Birth) Study programme leads to net cost savings.

Design: Cost analysis of the CTLB Study, using analysis of outcomes and hospital funding data.

Methods: We take a payer perspective and use Australian Refined Diagnosis-Related Group (AR-DRG) cost data to estimate the potential savings per woman to the payer (government or private insurer). We consider scenarios in which the intervention cost is either borne by the woman or by the payer. Savings are computed as the difference in total cost between the control group and the study group.

Results: If the cost of the intervention is not borne by the payer, the average saving to the payer was calculated to be $A808 per woman. If the payer covers the cost of the programme, this figure reduces to $A659 since the average cost of delivering the programme was $A149 per woman. All these findings are significant at the 95% confidence level. Significantly more women in the study group experienced a normal vaginal birth, and significantly fewer women in the study group experienced a caesarean section. The main cost saving resulted from the reduced rate of caesarean section in the study group.

Conclusion: The CTLB antenatal education programme leads to significant savings to payers that come from reduced use of hospital resources. Depending on which perspective is considered, and who is responsible for covering the cost of the programme, the net savings vary from $A659 to $A808 per woman. Compared with the average cost of birth in the control group, we conclude that the programme could lead to a reduction in birth-related healthcare costs of approximately 9%.

Trial registration number: ACTRN12611001126909.


cost analysis, health economics, complementary medicine, antenatal education

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