September 29, 2016

Beyond cost-effectiveness analysis

Departures from Cost-Effectiveness Recommendations: The Impact of Health System Constraints on Priority Setting

Cost-effectiveness may be considered a focal point for health economists. However the trip from theory to implementation raises many doubts.  The reductionist perspectives of some health economists, assign a rational decision making by politicians. And this is not the case. I suggest you a look at this article:
The cost-effectiveness model generally used for the evaluation of health technologies—and health care and public health interventions more widely—has become a central tool for public-sector policy makers in many health care systems. It was developed to help decision makers with fixed public resources to compare (1) different interventions for the same health problem and (2) programs in different disease areas. For a particular level of health care resources, the goal is to
choose from among all possible combination of programs the set that maximizes total health benefits produced. The traditional CEA methods presume the existence of only one salient constraint— the public finance budget constraint. Yet all of the evidence suggests that many other constraints impinge on decision makers, at least in the short run.

A fundamental reason for the failure to implement is that CEA assumes a single constraint, in the form of the budget constraint, whereas in reality decision makers may be faced with numerous other constraints. The objective of this article is to develop a typology of constraints that may act as barriers to implementation of cost-effectiveness recommendations. Six categories of constraints are considered: the design of the health system; costs of implementing change; system interactions between interventions; uncertainty in estimates of costs and benefits; weak governance; and political constraints.

There is intelligent life beyond cost-effectiveness...