The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) has recommended focused ultrasound (FUS) as a possible “cost-effective strategy” and a “safe and effective, noninvasive, uterine-preserving option for women seeking treatment for uterine fibroids.
HQO200A new evidence review by Health Quality Ontario (HQO) led to this recommendation by OHTAC, finding FUS offers significant improvement in fibroid symptoms and rapid post-procedure recovery for women, with a rare occurrence of complications and a low risk of needing further treatments. A companion economic analysis concluded that FUS could result in an annual savings of up to $4.15 million for Ontarians.
These findings by HQO and OHTAC are an important step in recognizing the body of evidence that supports the efficacy and cost benefit of the technology. “We were pleased and not surprised to see that after a thorough review of the evidence, OHTAC found FUS to offer significant treatment advantages for women, including possible fertility preservation, at a reasonable cost. We expect these reports to facilitate full adoption of FUS in Ontario, and help address the challenges to widespread acceptance of the technology globally,” said Foundation Chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD.
Economic Analysis and Reimbursement
The companion OHTAC economic analysis—which evaluated the cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of implementing FUS in Ontario—compared the treatment against three other common fibroid procedures (hysterectomy, myomectomy and uterine artery embolization) and concluded that “FUS may be a cost-effective strategy at commonly accepted willingness-to-pay thresholds.” The authors estimated that Canada’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spends about $35.5 million a year on fibroid treatments and that FUS could result in a savings of $1.38 to $4.15 million annually. The report also cited logistical and financial challenges to implementing FUS while suggesting those barriers may be offset by the “promising technology’s” benefits to women including “complete noninvasiveness” and faster recovery times.