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Methods for assessing the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions: Key challenges and recommendations

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  • Weatherly, Helen
  • Drummond, Michael
  • Claxton, Karl
  • Cookson, Richard
  • Ferguson, Brian
  • Godfrey, Christine
  • Rice, Nigel
  • Sculpher, Mark
  • Sowden, Amanda

Abstract

Rationale Increasing attention is being given to the evaluation of public health interventions. Methods for the economic evaluation of clinical interventions are well established. In contrast, the economic evaluation of public health interventions raises additional methodological challenges. The paper identifies these challenges and provides suggestions for overcoming them.Methods To identify the methodological challenges, five reviews that explored the economics of public health were consulted. From these, four main methodological challenges for the economic evaluation of public health interventions were identified. A review of empirical studies was conducted to explore how the methodological challenges had been approached in practice and an expert workshop convened to discuss how they could be tackled in the future.Results The empirical review confirmed that the four methodological challenges were important. In all, 154 empirical studies were identified, covering areas as diverse as alcohol, drug use, obesity and physical activity, and smoking. However, the four methodological challenges were handled badly, or ignored in most of the studies reviewed.Discussion The empirical review offered few insights into ways of addressing the methodological challenges. The expert workshop suggested a number of ways forward for overcoming the methodological challenges.Conclusion Although the existing empirical literature offers few insights on how to respond to these challenges, expert opinion suggests a number of ways forward. Much of what is suggested here has not yet been applied in practice, and there is an urgent need both for pilot studies and more methodological research.

Suggested Citation

  • Weatherly, Helen & Drummond, Michael & Claxton, Karl & Cookson, Richard & Ferguson, Brian & Godfrey, Christine & Rice, Nigel & Sculpher, Mark & Sowden, Amanda, 2009. "Methods for assessing the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions: Key challenges and recommendations," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 93(2-3), pages 85-92, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:93:y:2009:i:2-3:p:85-92
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Drummond, Michael F. & Sculpher, Mark J. & Torrance, George W. & O'Brien, Bernie J. & Stoddart, Greg L., 2005. "Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780198529453.
    2. Werner B. F. Brouwer & Marc A. Koopmanschap & Frans F. H. Rutten, 1997. "Productivity Costs Measurement Through Quality of Life? A Response to the Recommendation of the Washington Panel," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(3), pages 253-259.
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    4. Werner B.F. Brouwer & Marc A. Koopmanschap & Frans F.H. Rutten, 1997. "Productivity costs in cost-effectiveness analysis: numerator or denominator: a further discussion," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(5), pages 511-514.
    5. Karl Claxton & Mike Paulden & Hugh Gravelle & Werner Brouwer & Anthony J. Culyer, 2011. "Discounting and decision making in the economic evaluation of health‐care technologies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 2-15, January.
    6. Cookson, Richard & Drummond, Mike & Weatherly, Helen, 2009. "Explicit incorporation of equity considerations into economic evaluation of public health interventions," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 231-245, April.
    7. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
    8. Smith, Richard D. & Yago, Milton & Millar, Michael & Coast, Jo, 2005. "Assessing the macroeconomic impact of a healthcare problem: The application of computable general equilibrium analysis to antimicrobial resistance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1055-1075, November.
    9. Ryan, Mandy & Netten, Ann & Skatun, Diane & Smith, Paul, 2006. "Using discrete choice experiments to estimate a preference-based measure of outcome--An application to social care for older people," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 927-944, September.
    10. Hugh Gravelle & Werner Brouwer & Louis Niessen & Maarten Postma & Frans Rutten, 2007. "Discounting in economic evaluations: stepping forward towards optimal decision rules," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 307-317.
    11. Phil Shackley & Simon Dixon, 2000. "Using contingent valuation to elicit public preferences for water fluoridation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 777-787.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 4th April 2016
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2016-04-04 16:00:24

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    1. Dyfrig Hughes & Joanna Charles & Dalia Dawoud & Rhiannon Tudor Edwards & Emily Holmes & Carys Jones & Paul Parham & Catrin Plumpton & Colin Ridyard & Huw Lloyd-Williams & Eifiona Wood & Seow Tien Yeo, 2016. "Conducting Economic Evaluations Alongside Randomised Trials: Current Methodological Issues and Novel Approaches," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 34(5), pages 447-461, May.
    2. Matthew Calver, 2016. "Measuring the Appropriate Outcomes for Better Decision-Making: A Framework to Guide the Analysis of Health Policy," CSLS Research Reports 2016-03, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Stefano Papa, 2017. "The effects of physical activity on social interactions: The case of trust and trustworthiness," wp.comunite 00134, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    4. Emma Frew, 2016. "Economic Evaluation of Childhood Obesity Interventions: Reflections and Suggestions," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 34(8), pages 733-740, August.
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    7. Goebbels, Adrienne F.G. & Lakerveld, Jeroen & Ament, André J.H.A. & Bot, Sandra D.M. & Severens, Johan L., 2012. "Exploring non-health outcomes of health promotion: The perspective of participants in a lifestyle behaviour change intervention," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 177-186.
    8. Mac Giolla Phadraig, Caoimhin & Nunn, June & Guerin, Suzanne & Normand, Charles, 2016. "Should we provide oral health training for staff caring for people with intellectual disabilities in community based residential care? A cost-effectiveness analysis," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 46-54.
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    Keywords

    Economic evaluation Public health;

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