Economic Evaluation of Public Health
Interventions: Challenges &
Recommendations
Helen Weatherly
University of York, UK
Elements of my presentation
• Undertaking economic evaluations of public
health interventions
– Challenges for analysts an...
Challenges for analysts in the economic
evaluation of public health interventions
• Review of the literature
• Focus on fo...
Review of the literature
• NHS EED online database
• Free access
• Summaries of economic evaluations studies
by health eco...
Public Health Areas
0%
2%
4%
6%
8%
10%
12%
14%
16%
18%
20%
Accidents HIV/AIDS Low birth
weight
Smoking Alcohol Sexually
tr...
Types of Economic Evaluation
Cost consequence
analysis (CCA)
36%
Cost-effectiveness
analysis (CEA)
37%
Cost-utility analys...
Economic Evaluation Setting
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
Community Medical Home Workplace School Transport Prison
%
Sett...
Target Group
General population
35%
Working age population
27%
Children
14%
Women
10%
Older people
10%
Ethnic minority
3%
...
Study Perspective
Not stated
24%
Societal
31%
Heatlh service, health
care payer, third party
payer
32%
Multiple
3%
Patient...
Types of Costs
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
Analytical Challenges Posed by the
Evaluation of Public Health
Interventions
• Estimates of relative treatment (programme)...
Estimates of Relative Treatment
(Programme) Effects
• Aim to obtain unbiased estimates of effect
• Focus on populations/co...
Measurement and Valuation of
Outcomes
• Requires measuring and valuing outcomes
over the longer term
• QALYs increasingly ...
Equity Considerations
• Growing literature, although not generally
applied in the context of economic
evaluations
• Standa...
Inter-Sectoral Effects
• Current literature does not cast the net very
broadly
• Evaluations of PH interventions need to
c...
Recommendations
• Attribution of outcomes
• Measuring and valuing outcomes
• Equity considerations
• Inter-sectoral costs ...
Attribution of Outcomes
• Conduct RCTs. If cannot be undertaken, fill gaps
using natural experiments & non-experimental
da...
Measuring & Valuing Outcomes
• Debate about theoretical & value propositions
underlying various forms of economic evaluati...
Equity Considerations
• Narrative discussion
• Health inequality impact assessment
– Impact of an intervention on health i...
Inter-sectoral Costs & Consequences
• Quantify inter-sectoral impacts of interventions in a
CCA. Could assess need for bud...
Use of economic evaluations of public
health evaluations by decision makers:
Challenges & recommendations
• Decision maker...
Adapted from: Guide to NICE methods, NICE 2008
Element of Assessment NICE HTA reference case NICE public health reference ...
Motivating and sustaining
behavioural change
• Beyond neoclassical economics
– Overcoming market failure
• Implementing pu...
Transferability of studies
• CE studies of public health interventions are rare
compared to evaluations of standard care
•...
Summary (i)
• In principle the general methods of economic
evaluation can be applied to public health
interventions
• The ...
Summary (ii)
• Prior to using the studies, decision makers need
to identify their goals
• Stakeholder involvement. Incenti...
References
• Cookson R, Drummond M, Weatherly H. Explicit incorporation of equity
considerations into economic evaluation ...
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Eupha 3.challenges and recommendations helen weatherly

  1. 1. Economic Evaluation of Public Health Interventions: Challenges & Recommendations Helen Weatherly University of York, UK
  2. 2. Elements of my presentation • Undertaking economic evaluations of public health interventions – Challenges for analysts and options for dealing with the challenges • Using economic evaluations of public health interventions – Challenges for decision makers and options for dealing with the challenges
  3. 3. Challenges for analysts in the economic evaluation of public health interventions • Review of the literature • Focus on four methodological challenges • Options for dealing with the challenges
  4. 4. Review of the literature • NHS EED online database • Free access • Summaries of economic evaluations studies by health economists • Papers published 2000 – 2005 • 1,264 studies found • 154 relevant studies
  5. 5. Public Health Areas 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% Accidents HIV/AIDS Low birth weight Smoking Alcohol Sexually transmitted infections Ante & post natal visiting Teenage pregnancy Drug abuse Obesity & physical activity Youth suicide prevention Public health area % of studies
  6. 6. Types of Economic Evaluation Cost consequence analysis (CCA) 36% Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) 37% Cost-utility analysis (CUA) 27%
  7. 7. Economic Evaluation Setting 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Community Medical Home Workplace School Transport Prison % Setting
  8. 8. Target Group General population 35% Working age population 27% Children 14% Women 10% Older people 10% Ethnic minority 3% Men 1%
  9. 9. Study Perspective Not stated 24% Societal 31% Heatlh service, health care payer, third party payer 32% Multiple 3% Patient 1% Government 1% Hospital, local, health department, provider 8%
  10. 10. Types of Costs 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
  11. 11. Analytical Challenges Posed by the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions • Estimates of relative treatment (programme) effects • Measurement and valuation of outcomes • Equity • Inter-sectoral effects
  12. 12. Estimates of Relative Treatment (Programme) Effects • Aim to obtain unbiased estimates of effect • Focus on populations/communities rather than specific individuals • Preference for Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) – In practice, few RCTs – RCT measured outcomes tend to be short term. Benefits from public health interventions may be realised over the longer term
  13. 13. Measurement and Valuation of Outcomes • Requires measuring and valuing outcomes over the longer term • QALYs increasingly popular • Are other outcomes relevant to public health interventions? – Effects beyond target individuals/groups – Non-health benefits • Consider which outcomes measurement and valuation methods are valid
  14. 14. Equity Considerations • Growing literature, although not generally applied in the context of economic evaluations • Standard economic evaluations focus on efficiency (i.e. health maximisation) rather than on equity (i.e. the distribution of health gains)
  15. 15. Inter-Sectoral Effects • Current literature does not cast the net very broadly • Evaluations of PH interventions need to consider both public and private costs as effects of public health interventions are often wide-ranging • Need to explore the ‘ripple effects’ (e.g. bicycle helmets)
  16. 16. Recommendations • Attribution of outcomes • Measuring and valuing outcomes • Equity considerations • Inter-sectoral costs and consequences
  17. 17. Attribution of Outcomes • Conduct RCTs. If cannot be undertaken, fill gaps using natural experiments & non-experimental data • Match outcomes in RCTs with those available in long-term observational studies • Build on quantitative methods for data synthesis and extrapolation - extending time frames - combination of effects from different designs - econometric modelling
  18. 18. Measuring & Valuing Outcomes • Debate about theoretical & value propositions underlying various forms of economic evaluation - money valuation - superQALY - cross-sector compensation test • Perform a cost-consequences analysis alongside • Continue research on developing a more general measure of well-being
  19. 19. Equity Considerations • Narrative discussion • Health inequality impact assessment – Impact of an intervention on health inequality • Opportunity cost analysis of equity – Where the most cost-effective option is judged inequitable, calculate the opportunity cost of not selecting that option • Equity weighting of health outcomes – Is a QALY is a QALY is a QALY? • Conduct pilot studies on methods for incorporating equity concerns
  20. 20. Inter-sectoral Costs & Consequences • Quantify inter-sectoral impacts of interventions in a CCA. Could assess need for budgetary transfers • Consider broader impact of public health interventions on the voluntary sector & private individuals • Conduct an analysis of costs & consequences by beneficiary group, e.g. by health status etc • Assess whether a general equilibrium approach would be more suitable for the evaluation of PH interventions
  21. 21. Use of economic evaluations of public health evaluations by decision makers: Challenges & recommendations • Decision makers objectives – Comparing public health interventions with standard health care interventions • Motivating and sustaining behavioural change • Enhancing transferability of studies
  22. 22. Adapted from: Guide to NICE methods, NICE 2008 Element of Assessment NICE HTA reference case NICE public health reference case Defining decision problem The scope developed by NICE The scope developed by NICE Comparator Therapies routinely used in NHS Therapies routinely used in public sector Perspective on costs NHS and Personal Social Services (PSS) Public sector, including the NHS & PSS Perspective on effects All health effects on individuals All health effects on individuals Type of economic evaluation Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) Primary analysis CEA Secondary analysis CCA, CBA Synthesis of evidence on outcomes Based on a systematic review Based on a systematic review Measure of health effects Quality-adjusted Life Years (QALYs) QALYs Source of data for measurement of HRQoL Reported directly by patients &/or carers Reported directly by patients &/or carers Source of preference data for valuation of changes in HRQoL Representative sample of the public Representative sample of the public Discount rate Annual rate 3.5%, costs & health effects Annual rate 3.5%, costs & health effects Equity position Additional QALY same weight regardless of other characteristics of individuals receiving health benefit Additional QALY same weight regardless of other characteristics of individuals receiving health benefit
  23. 23. Motivating and sustaining behavioural change • Beyond neoclassical economics – Overcoming market failure • Implementing public health interventions – Targeting provision • Concerns about the distribution of health • Use of e.g. tariffs to reward implementation – Incentives for public health and individual behaviour • E.g. Nudge economics
  24. 24. Transferability of studies • CE studies of public health interventions are rare compared to evaluations of standard care • Maximise use of the few studies available – Comparability of methods for economic evaluation of public health interventions vs. those for standard care – Encourage transparent, full, consistent approaches to reporting of study methods including quantifying uncertainty • Reference case – Support research to improve methods of assessment of PH interventions – Incentives to improve data availability
  25. 25. Summary (i) • In principle the general methods of economic evaluation can be applied to public health interventions • The current literature is disappointing and represents many missed opportunities • Efforts need to be made in improving the effectiveness evidence base, through RCTs and observational studies • Economic evaluations in this area need to pay a lot more attention to inter-sectoral effects and equity considerations
  26. 26. Summary (ii) • Prior to using the studies, decision makers need to identify their goals • Stakeholder involvement. Incentives to engage in the process • Transferability issues – Suitability for use in different settings/commissioning tasks – Complexities inherent in each study, quantification of uncertainty – Communicating accessible information to users – Role of technical analysts in use of studies
  27. 27. References • Cookson R, Drummond M, Weatherly H. Explicit incorporation of equity considerations into economic evaluation of public health interventions. Health Economics Policy and Law. 2009;4(2):231-45. • Marks L, Cave S, Hunter D, Mason J, Peckham S, Wallace A, Mason A, Weatherly H, Melvin K. Public health governance and primary care delivery: a triangulated study. Report prepared for the NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation Programme, 2010. • Neumann PJ, Jacobson PD, Palmer JA. Measuring the value of public health systems: The disconnect between health economists and public health practitioners. American Journal of Public Health 2008, 98, 12, 2173-2180. • Phillips C, Fordham R, Marsh K et al. Exploring the role of economics in prioritization in public health: What do stakeholders think? The European Journal of Public Health 2010. • Weatherly H, Drummond M, Claxton K, Cookson R, Ferguson B, Godfrey C, Sculpher M, et al. Methods for assessing the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions: key challenges and recommendations. Health Policy 2009;93:85-92.
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