Despite its increasingly frequent appearance in medical journals, the subject of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is still an unwelcome visitor at most clinical hearths. Physicians, trying to do their best for their patients, remain skeptical about issues of cost and the threat of cutting corners. Cost-effectiveness analysis seems fit, perhaps, for planners and managers, but is it fit for the doctor cradling the trust of an individual patient?
See also p 1571.
The work of Stern et al1 in this issue of the Archives offers eloquent testimony to the potential of CEA for guiding the decisions of the individual physician and patient. In exploring the relative value of topical and combination (topical plus systemic antibiotic) treatment of papulopustular acne, the authors illuminate the conflicting objectives that must be kept in mind, and show how systematic quantitative analysis can aid clear thinking about values, costs, and outcomes.
Cost-effectiveness analysis, in general,
Berwick DM. Cost-effectiveness Analysis in Clinical PracticeIs a Truce Possible?. Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(12):1569-1570. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650480031012