Methods of assessing value for money of UK-based early childhood public health interventions: A systematic literature review

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Introduction

Economic evaluation has an important role to play in the demonstration of value for money of early childhood public health interventions; however, concerns have been raised regarding their consistent application and relevance to commissioners. This systematic review of the literature therefore aims to collate the breadth of the existing economic evaluation evidence of these interventions and to identify the approaches adopted in the assessment of value.

Source of data

Recently published literature in Medline, EMBASE, EconLit, Health Management Information Consortium, Cochrane CENTRAL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Health Technology Assessment, NHS EED and Web of Science.

Areas of agreement

The importance of the early childhood period on future health and well-being as well as the potential to impact health inequalities making for a strong narrative case for expenditure in early childhood public health.

Areas of controversy

The most appropriate approaches to evaluating value for money of such preventative interventions relevant for UK decision-makers given the evident challenges.

Growing points

The presented review considered inconsistencies across methodological approaches used to demonstrate value for money. The results showed a mixed picture in terms of demonstrating value for money.

Areas timely for developing research

Future resource allocations decisions regarding early childhood public health interventions may benefit from consistency in the evaluative frameworks and health outcomes captured, as well as consistency in approaches to incorporating non-health costs and outcomes, incorporating equity concerns and the use of appropriate time horizons.

References: Peter Murphy, Sebastian Hinde, Helen Fulbright, Louise Padgett, Gerry Richardson, Methods of assessing value for money of UK-based early childhood public health interventions: a systematic literature review, British Medical Bulletin, Volume 145, Issue 1, March 2023, Pages 88–109, https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldac035

Details:

Author(s):

Helen Fulbright,

Professor

Senior Research Fellow

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