Yes, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland whose findings are based on a mathematical epidemiological model.
First, the details.
No humans were involved in the study.
The last Cochrane database review categorized effective fall-prevention interventions.
Medical management (withdrawal) of psychotropics
Group tai chi
Vitamin D supplementation
Muscle and balance exercises
Multifactorial individualized programs for all elderly people
Multifactorial individualized treatments for high-risk frail elderly people
Fall-related hip fracture incidence was obtained from the literature.
Salary for health professionals were based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Healthcare costs were estimated based on practice and studies on falls in older adults.
Cost utility ratios were calculated, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted.
And, the results.
Least-costly, most-effective options
Medical management of psychotropics and group tai chi
They were also the least studied.
Other least-expensive, most-effective options
Vitamin D supplementation and home modifications
Vitamin D costs less than home modifications, but home modifications cost only $14,794/QALY gained more than vitamin D.
QALY (quality-adjusted life year) is a year of life adjusted for its quality or value.
Excluding management of psychotropics and tai chi, home modification is most likely to have the highest economic benefit when QALYs are valued at $50,000 or $100,000.
The bottom line?
Among the individual treatment options, managing psychotropic drug therapy and tai chi reduces costs the most, but require more study for confirmation. Based on the greatest evidence, home modifications provide the best value.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.