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Health economic studies: an introduction to cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analyses

Health economic studies: an introduction to cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analyses

Spine 39(22 Suppl 1): S9-15

Narrative overview. To provide clinicians with a basic understanding of economic studies, including cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analyses. As decisions regarding public health policy, insurance reimbursement, and patient care incorporate factors other than traditional outcomes such as satisfaction or symptom resolution, health economic studies are increasingly prominent in the literature. This trend will likely continue, and it is therefore important for clinicians to have a fundamental understanding of the common types of economic studies and be able to read them critically. In this brief article, the basic concepts of economic studies and the differences between cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility studies are discussed. An overview of the field of health economic analysis is presented. Cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility studies all integrate cost and outcome data into a decision analysis model. These different types of studies are distinguished mainly by the way in which outcomes are valued. Obtaining accurate cost data is often difficult and can limit the generalizability of a study. With a basic understanding of health economic analysis, clinicians can be informed consumers of these important studies.

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Accession: 053488341

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PMID: 25299265

DOI: 10.1097/brs.0000000000000576

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