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

Milton C. Weinstein ()
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Milton C. Weinstein: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

No 30, Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

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).

JEL-codes: I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2005-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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