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Spending Health Care Dollars Wisely: Can Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Help? 16th Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy

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  • Milton C. Weinstein

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    (Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health)

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    Abstract

    Are we getting the most health improvement possible for our money. In other words, are all the things that we do in medicine really worth it? That is where cost-effectiveness comes in. As a nation, we have been unwilling, at least publicly, to look explicitly at the value, in terms of improved health outcome, that we get for our health care dollars. With advances in medical technology putting unsustainable pressure on health care costs, our historical reluctance to measure value for health care may have to change. I start this brief by describing cost-effectiveness analysis as a method of determining the value, measured in Quality-Adjusted Life Years, of medical technologies as they are applied to treat, diagnose, or prevent various conditions. Based on this information, I then argue that some highly beneficial, low-cost procedures are significantly underutilized, and that other medical technologies may be overutilized based on the amount of health benefit they yield in relation to their cost. Next, I give examples from current research, my own and that of colleagues, illustrating how cost-effectiveness analysis can be used to guide the use of new diagnostic testing technologies (such as DNA or RNA typing of infectious agents or identification of genomic or proteinomic markers in cancer patients).

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs with number 30.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:30

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    1. Neumann, Peter J., 2004. "Using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Improve Health Care: Opportunities and barriers," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195171860.
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    Cited by:
    1. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," NBER Working Papers 11916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Genia Long & David Cutler & Ernst R. Berndt & Jimmy Royer & Andrée-Anne Fournier & Alicia Sasser & Pierre Cremieux, 2006. "The Impact of Antihypertensive Drugs on the Number and Risk of Death, Stroke and Myocardial Infarction in the United States," NBER Working Papers 12096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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