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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2011 Aug;45(8):673-80. doi: 10.3109/00048674.2011.586329.

Cost-effectiveness of an early assessment service for young people with early psychosis in Hong Kong.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong.



The Early Assessment Service for Young People with Early Psychosis (EASY) was developed in Hong Kong in 2001 to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach for early detection and intervention for young people suffering from first episode psychosis. The present study examined the cost-effectiveness of the service over a period of 24 months compared to standard care.


This is a historical control study. Sixty-five patients who presented to the EASY service in 2001 with first episode psychosis were individually matched (on age, sex and diagnosis) with 65 patients who received standard psychiatric care in a precursor service (pre-EASY) between 1999 and 2000. A retrospective cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted over a period of 24 months. The overall average cost of service utilization per patient and the effects on hospitalization rate were compared using bootstrapping analysis. Cost per point improvement in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was also computed with sensitivity analysis. Only direct costs were analysed in the current study.


There was no significant difference in service utilization between the EASY and pre-EASY standard care groups. The cost-effectiveness acceptability curve, which was used to explore uncertainty in estimates of cost and effects, suggested that there was a probability of at least 94% that the EASY model was more cost-effective than the pre-EASY service in reducing psychiatric inpatient admissions. EASY patients also showed superior results in average cost per unit improvement in PANSS.


EASY is likely to be more cost-effective in improving outcomes, particularly in reducing hospitalization and improving clinical symptoms among young people with first episode psychosis. This study provides a perspective from the east Asian region, and supports further development of similar services, particularly in the local setting. However, further studies with a longer follow up period and larger sample size are required to verify these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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