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September 13, 2016

The Next Chapter in Cost-effectiveness Analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2016;316(10):1049-1050. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12844

The high cost of health care has been an important issue for decades. Understanding why health care is so expensive has been debated since the 1960s,1 and calls to decrease the rate of increase in health care costs have been issued since the 1970s and 1980s.

There are differing opinions about whether these high costs are worthwhile; however, the effect of technological changes on increasing health care costs is well documented. As a consequence, the number of articles published in the peer-reviewed literature comparing the health care costs of alternative ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease has steadily increased. Since the seminal work of Weinstein and Stason2 in 1977, thousands of cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) have been performed to evaluate diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in virtually all disciplines of medicine. Concern about a lack of methodological standards prompted the US Public Health Service to empanel a group to develop standards for the conduct and reporting of a CEA in 1993.

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