Open Access Open Badges Research

Cost effectiveness of group follow-up after structured education for type 1 diabetes: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Paddy Gillespie1*, Eamon O'Shea1, Mary Clare O’Hara2, Sean F Dinneen2 and for the Irish DAFNE Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 School of Business and Economics, J.E. Cairnes Building, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland

2 School of Medicine, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland

For all author emails, please log on.

Trials 2014, 15:227  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-227

Published: 14 June 2014



This study examines the cost effectiveness of group follow-up after participation in the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) structured education programme for type 1 diabetes.


Economic evaluation conducted alongside a cluster randomised controlled trial involving 437 adults with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. Group follow-up involved two group education ‘booster’ sessions post-DAFNE. Individual follow-up involved two standard one-to-one hospital clinic visits. Incremental costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and cost effectiveness were estimated at 18 months. Uncertainty was explored using sensitivity analysis and by estimating cost effectiveness acceptability curves.


Group follow-up was associated with a mean reduction in QALYs gained of 0.04 per patient (P value, 0.052; 95% CI, −0.08 to 0.01, intra-class correlation (ICC), 0.033) and a mean reduction in total healthcare costs of €772 (P value, 0.020; 95% CI, −1,415 to −128: ICC, 0.016) per patient. At alternative threshold values of €5,000, €15,000, €25,000, €35,000, and €45,000, the probability of group follow-up being cost effective was estimated to be 1.000, 0.762, 0.204, 0.078, and 0.033 respectively.


The results do not support implementation of group follow-up as the sole means of follow-up post-DAFNE. Given the reported cost savings, future studies should explore the cost effectiveness of alternative models of group care for diabetes.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN79759174 (assigned: 9 February 2007).

Type 1 diabetes; Structured education; Follow-up; Cost effectiveness