Economic evaluation evidence for resource-allocation decision making: bridging the gap for local decision makers using English case studies

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Best-practice economic evaluation methods for health-related decision making at a national level in England are well established, and as a first principle generally involve attempting to maximise the amount of health generated from the health system’s budget. Such methods are applied in ways that are broadly transparent and accountable, often at arm’s length from explicit political pressures. At local levels of decision making, however, decision making is arguably less likely to be applied according to established overarching principles, is less transparent and is more subject to political pressures. This may be owing to a multiplicity of reasons, for example, undesirability/inappropriateness of such methods, or a failure to make the methods clear to local decision makers. We outline principles for economic evaluations and break down these methods into their component parts, considering their relevance in the English local context. These include taxonomies of decision-making frameworks, budgets, costs, outcome, and characterisations of cost effectiveness. We also explore the role of broader factors, including the relevance of assuming a single fixed budget, pressures resulting from political and budgetary cycles and affordability. We consider the data requirements to inform such deliberations. By setting out principles for economic evaluation methods in a clear language aimed at local decision making, a potential role for such methods can be established, which to date has failed to emerge. While the extent to which these methods can and should be applied are a matter for continued debate, the establishment of such a mutual understanding may assist in the improvement of methods for such decision making and the outcomes resulting from their application.

References: Howdon D, Hinde S, Lomas J, Franklin M. Economic Evaluation Evidence for Resource-Allocation Decision Making: Bridging the Gap for Local Decision Makers Using English Case Studies. Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2022 Nov;20(6):783-792. doi: 10.1007/s40258-022-00756-7. Epub 2022 Aug 26. PMID: 36018504; PMCID: PMC9596509.

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Author(s):

Howdon D, Hinde S, Lomas J & Franklin M (2022)

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