MUSM Libraries: Evaluating an ECONOMIC ANALYSIS article
Validity issues | Types of cost analysis | Finding articles
Are the results valid?
- Did the analysis provide a full economic comparison of health care
- Were the costs and outcomes properly measured and valued?
- Was appropriate allowance made for uncertainties in the
- Are estimates of costs and outcomes related to the baseline risk in
the treatment population?
What are the results?
- What were the incremental costs and outcomes of each strategy?
- Do incremental costs and outcomes differ between subgroups?
- How much does allowance for uncertainty change the results?
Will the results help me in caring for my patient?
- Are the treatment benefits worth the harms and costs?
- Could my patients expect similar health outcomes?
- Could I expect similar costs?
Types of cost analysis
Economics is not just about money. It explores the balance
between costs and consequences of alternative actions.
A full economic comparison analyzes both the costs and
consequences of 2 or more alternative healthcare strategies. There are 3
- Cost-Benefit Analysis compares the strategies' costs with
benefits expressed in monetary units.
- Cost-Effectiveness Analysis compares the strategies' costs
with their effects in clinical units (e.g. cost per life years gained).
- Cost-Utility Analysis is a type of cost-effectiveness analysis
in which outcomes are measured in terms of social value (e.g. cost per
quality-adjusted life years or QALY).
Direct Health Costs measure actual resources consumed to provide
Indirect Health Costs measure resource implications of
healthcare on other activities (e.g. lost wages).
Discounting permits a comparison of future costs and
consequences at today's value.
Finding articles about economic analysis
Handhelds (Memorial On-Campus/Remote One and Mercer On-Campus access)
Handhelds (Mercer Off-Campus access)
- SelectSearch MEDLINE/PubMed and use the Search with no
filters and enter your search term/s AND search: cost* OR economic
From: Guyatt, G. Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: Essentials of
Evidence-based Clinical Practice. AMA Press, 2002 and Strauss.
Evidence-Based Medicine. How to Practice and Teach EBM.
Churchill-Livingstone, 3rd edition, 2005 (pocket cards).
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