Economic evaluation in health care decision making: evidence from the UK
Although economic evaluation in health care has a long-standing tradition in the United Kingdom, very little is known about its impact on decision making, particularly following the introduction of the internal market. Since managed competition appears to be growing in popularity worldwide, the UK is an interesting case study, as the reforms are well underway and there have been a number of efforts to conduct and to disseminate economic evaluations. In this paper the potential for using economic evaluation in health care decision making in the UK is discussed. Then its actual impact is assessed in two ways. First, two case studies are discussed, on heart transplantation and the use of pharmaceuticals in the management of labour in pregnancy. Secondly, new data from a recent survey of potential users of economic evaluations are presented, with the emphasis on exploring the reasons for the impact, or lack of impact, of economic results. It is concluded that the NHS reforms increase the potential for the use of economic evaluation. However, there is a need to increase decision makers’ awareness of economic studies and to help them study methodology and results. Although worries about validity of economic studies is one of the major barriers to their use, other important barriers relate to the multiple objectives being pursued, of which increased efficiency is just one, and the difficulties of freeing resources from existing services in order to divert them to more cost-effective treatments and programmes.
|Date of creation:||Apr 1996|
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