The analysis was based on one study, with a 10-week time horizon. The perspective was not explicitly stated.
The clinical data were from a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT). Power calculations were performed to determine the sample size. Eligible patients were allocated to the intervention and control groups by an automated simple randomisation system. Participants were followed-up for 10 weeks. Of the 122 patients initially screened, 45 were included; five, from the control group, were withdrawn because they erroneously accessed the internet intervention. This left 23 patients (mean age 40.14 years; SD 17.76) in the internet group, and 17 patients (mean age 41.81 years; SD 11.43) in the control group. The efficacy of the programme, in reducing the severity and impact of fatigue, was the primary endpoint of the trial and this was estimated using the ordinal version of the Fatigue Scale.
Monetary benefit and utility valuations:
The utility values were estimated using the European Quality of life (EQ-5D) instrument, which was completed by the patients enrolled in the clinical trial, at baseline and after 10-weeks.
Measure of benefit:
Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were the summary benefit measure.
The economic analysis included the costs of visits to various health care professionals, in-patient stay, intensive care unit stay, and home help. The unit costs and quantities of resources were presented separately. The resource use was from the pilot RCT. The costs were estimated using official tariffs for the UK NHS. All costs were in UK £, for the financial year 2007 to 2008.
Analysis of uncertainty:
Standard deviations around the means were presented for the costs and the QALYs.