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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Health Economics Information Resources: A Self-Study Course

Module 3: Identification and Retrieval of Published Health Economic Evaluation Studies

Objective of economic evaluation studies

The aim of economic evaluation is to ensure that the benefits from health care programs implemented are greater than the opportunity cost of such programs by addressing questions of Allocative efficiency or Technical efficiency.

Allocative efficiency assesses competing programs and judges the extent to which they meet objectives.

Technical efficiency assesses the best way of achieving a given objective.

Economic evaluation defined

A FULL economic evaluation compares BOTH the costs AND consequences (effectiveness; benefits) of TWO or more interventions. A FULL economic evaluation requires the identification, measurement and valuation of BOTH costs and consequences. A FULL economic evaluation is the ONLY type of economic analysis that provides valid information on efficiency.

Economic evaluation study methodologies

A full economic evaluation

A full economic evaluation analysis uses one of the following methodologies:

These methodologies are distinct from each other and are used to address different efficiency questions. (see also module 4)

The distinction between the methodologies is found in the way in which the consequences are measured and valued. (see also module 4)

Partial evaluation studies

Partial evaluations constitute a number of economic study types which consider costs and/or consequences, but which either do not involve a comparison between alternative interventions or do not relate costs to benefits.

Partial evaluations can be useful in that they can provide elements of information for a full evaluation and help answer questions not related to efficiency.

It is important to remember that PARTIAL EVALUATIONS DO NOT PROVIDE INFORMATION ON EFFICIENCY.

Types of partial evaluation studies

Generally speaking, there are five types of partial evaluation studies. These are:

 

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