IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

What constitutes success in preventive health care? A case study in assessing the benefits of hip protectors


  • Salkeld, G.
  • Quine, S.
  • Cameron, I. D.


The economic success of preventive health programs is typically assessed by the net health-related utility gain or loss to society relative to the cost. Issues relating to the positive or negative utility associated with participating in a preventive health program are often ignored. However, it is likely that calls for informed consumer choice and respect for patient autonomy will provide an impetus to examine utility associated with the process and outcomes of preventive health programs. In this paper, we outline the nature of the ex ante and ex post perspective in evaluing benefits and the presence of process utility and the utility of gambling in individual's utility function for preventive health care. The implications of including process attributes and psychological states when assessing benefits to society are discussed in relation to an empirical study on the value of external hip protectors for the prevention of hip fractures. We demonstrate that wearing hip protectors and the psychological outcomes of being a participant in the program can have a significant impact on individual's assessment of the benefits. Furthermore, point of reference plays a crucial role in their valuation. Individuals who did not consent to participate in a trial of hip protectors valued all states significantly lower than those who did participate in the trial. We argue that the utility associated with adherence to the intervention is an important issue for preventive health policy. From the viewpoint of applied welfare economics, evaluation of preventive health programs should allow for both process and outcome utility when assessing benefits. In this context, success might be viewed as maximising the opportunity for individuals to make an informed choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Salkeld, G. & Quine, S. & Cameron, I. D., 2004. "What constitutes success in preventive health care? A case study in assessing the benefits of hip protectors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 1593-1601, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:8:p:1593-1601

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Richard Abreu Lourenco & Marion Haas & Jane Hall & Rosalie Viney, 2017. "Valuing Meta-Health Effects for Use in Economic Evaluations to Inform Reimbursement Decisions: A Review of the Evidence," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 347-362, March.
    2. Kirsten Howard & Glenn Salkeld & Kirsten McCaffery & Les Irwig, 2008. "HPV triage testing or repeat Pap smear for the management of atypical squamous cells (ASCUS) on Pap smear: is there evidence of process utility?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 593-605, May.
    3. Lidia Engel & Stirling Bryan & David G. T. Whitehurst, 2021. "Conceptualising ‘Benefits Beyond Health’ in the Context of the Quality-Adjusted Life-Year: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 39(12), pages 1383-1395, December.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:8:p:1593-1601. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.