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Evidence-Based Public Health: A Course in Chronic Disease Prevention MODULE 7: Economic Evaluation Kathy Gillespie March 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Evidence-Based Public Health: A Course in Chronic Disease Prevention MODULE 7: Economic Evaluation Kathy Gillespie March 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evidence-Based Public Health: A Course in Chronic Disease Prevention MODULE 7: Economic Evaluation Kathy Gillespie March 2013

2 “An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible.” Alfred A. Knopf

3 Kathleen N. Gillespie, PhD

4 Learning Objectives Why is economic evaluation needed?
Be able to answer the following questions: Why is economic evaluation needed? What is economic evaluation? Are there different types? When is an economic evaluation necessary or useful?

5 Learning Objectives How is an economic evaluation done?
More questions… How is an economic evaluation done? Who can help me with an economic evaluation? Where can I find information about economic evaluations?

6 Where This Module Fits The green and blue sections, primarily

7 Next Module: Logic Model
EE helps with costs and objectives

8 Why?

9 Why EE? Evidence-based practice requires knowing
Does it work? At what cost? EE starts after efficacy has been determined. Want to promote interventions that work at a reasonable cost, i.e. that provide “good value for the money”

10 Examples Increasing Physical Activity: Evidence shows that the following will work (The Community Guide) Community wide campaigns School-based physical education Street-scale urban design and land use policies and practices Social support interventions in community settings Which to invest in? or a mix?

11 Examples, cont. Budget cuts: A department’s budget must be cut by 5%. How to do this so as to minimize the effect on the public’s health? Grant awards: A number of applications have been received for a limited pool of grant dollars. How to select the winners?

12 Need to Weigh Costs and Benefits
A scale can compare apples and oranges because both are measured by weight EE provides the scale – an agreed upon way to measure health benefits and costs

13 What?

14 What Is EE? EE examines the costs and benefits of alternative programs to inform decisions about the allocation of scarce resources using an established set of economic tools. There are four types of EE.

15 Types of Economic Evaluation
Cost-benefit (CBA) Cost-utility (CUA) Cost-effectiveness (CEA Cost-minimization The number of projects that can be compared declines as we move down the list.

16 EE and Business EE methods are closely related to several business methods Return on Investment, or ROI Make or buy decision A business plan Investment decision making

17 It Helps to Have a Map What is the intervention?
Who is the relevant group? How long should the group be followed? What can happen at each time period? DECISION ANALYSIS can provide the map.

18 Example Decision Tree Dowding D and Thompson C, Using decision analysis to integrate evidence into decision making, Evid Based Nursing, :

19 Components of Economic Evaluation in Public Health
Inputs Health Outputs Public Health Program Costs Direct Costs Indirect Costs Averted Treatment Costs Benefits YOLS QALYS Dollars Always compare a new program to some alternative.

20 Components of Economic Evaluation in Public Health
Costs A New Program A Benefits A Choice Costs B Program B Comparison program May be new or old Could be ‘doing nothing’ YOLS QALYS Dollars Direct Indirect Averted Treatment Costs Health of the majority of the population. Benefits B

21 The Product of an EE Incremental Costs EE ratio = Incremental Benefits

22 The EE Ratio The EE ratio is often called the Incremental Cost Effectiveness Ratio, or ICER Emphasizes that we are comparing 2 or more interventions

23 Dimensions of Economic Evaluation
Type Inputs Outputs Perspective CMA ROI CBA CEA CUA Dollars Natural Units Organization Dollars Organization Dollars Society Natural Units Society Utilities Society

24 Every EE is Conducted from a Particular Perspective
Perspective (or viewpoint) determines whose interests are paramount in the evaluation Perspective determines what costs and consequences are considered Perspective determines how the results are interpreted Kerry

25 Determining the Perspective
Single provider’s practice FQHC Healthcare system Insurer – public (Medicaid) or private (BCBS) State agency Federal program (CDC, Medicare) Society Kerry

26 Example: Increasing Physical Activity
Community wide campaigns Suppose a campaign would cost $150,000 and yield an improvement of 1,000 quality-adjusted life years ICER = $150/QALY Social support interventions in community settings Suppose this would cost $200,000 and yield 2,000 quality-adjusted life years ICER = $100/QALY

27 Some Assumptions of Economics
Resources are scarce. Human wants are unlimited, and more is (almost) always preferred to less. If there is perfect competition, the market will do an efficient job of allocating scarce resources to maximize profits and satisfaction. Note: society may not consider this outcome equitable.

28 Some Assumptions of Economics
If the market works well, then there are only 2 parties to each trade – a buyer and a seller – and they bear all the costs and reap all the benefits of the trade.

29 When?

30 When Is EE Needed? EE needed if there is market failure (inefficiency). Perfect competition not present. Could occur naturally or the market could be ‘broken’. EE helpful if there are concerns about inequity.

31 Inefficiency Reasons for EE
When the market fails, or is broken. Complex decisions with high stakes. Little or no price information available. High information costs to find out about the product. Markets involving externalities or public goods. Externalities are spillover effects from trades. Public goods are non-excludable.

32 When is EE needed? Really?
Practically speaking, may be mandated or requested by funding agency. Useful when comparing options internally. Useful when justifying programs externally.

33 Inequity Reasons for EE
Social or government decision-making processes. If the distribution of goods and services that would emerge from the market is considered inequitable, then society can legislate, regulate, or tax/subsidize. EE measures the current or desired outcomes.

34 Public Health Requires EE
Provides services when the market fails WIC program, health clinics Complex decisions, high stakes - health and life Provides services with external benefits Immunization programs, sanitation, inspections Tobacco control programs

35 Public Health Requires EE
Provides public goods and services Health monitoring and assessment Social marketing and public information campaigns Access to health and equity are often concerns

36 How?

37 The Product of an EE Incremental Costs EE ratio = Incremental Benefits

38 Possible Outcomes of an EE
Aggregate Health Benefits Quadrant I Quadrant IV Saves money, Improves health Costs money, Improves health Aggregate Costs Saves money, Worsens health Costs money, Worsens health Quadrant III Quadrant II

39 Measuring Costs All economic evaluation methods require listing and measurement of costs. One tricky point. Mathematically, a benefit can be a negative cost, and a cost can be a negative benefit.

40 Negative Costs and Benefits
Whether some items are negative costs or benefits depends on the method. Makes a difference because we are constructing a ratio. General idea: all items falling on the health system are costs, positive or negative.

41 Types of Costs Direct (or program) costs Indirect costs
Time and travel costs to participants Averted productivity losses (a negative cost)? Cost of treatment during gained life expectancy ? Averted treatment costs (a negative cost)

42 Direct Costs All costs of the intervention Labor Supplies Rent
Utilities Costs of treating side effects of the intervention, if any

43 Indirect Costs Also called spillover costs.
Time and travel costs to participants. Costs to parties outside controlling program or agency. Averted productivity losses (a negative cost)? Cost of treatment during gained life expectancy?

44 Averted Productivity Losses
The present value of future wages gained. The intervention increases the worker’s longevity and/or reduces disability. Used in cost-benefit analyses. Not included in cost-utility analyses. Double counting of the benefit.

45 Costs of Treatment During Gained Life Expectancy
If the intervention saves a life, that person will die of something else later on. What are his/her expected total medical expenditures in the added life years? A controversial cost. Pro: these are expenses that would be avoided in the absence of the intervention, and therefore should be counted. Con: health expenses should not be singled out for inclusion.

46 Averted Treatment Costs
The averted costs to society of treating persons for the disease are subtracted from total costs. Included in the cost side because they impact the health care budget. A negative cost, not a benefit.

47 Measuring Benefits Benefits can be measured in many ways
Different units of measurement Dollars Years of life saved Quality adjusted years of life gained Specific health outcome Different time frames for the outcome Intermediate outcome Final health outcomes

48 Measuring Benefits Prevention poses special problems: Benefits may be:
small and cumulative. complex and interrelated. Are difficult to measure or validate without large samples of panel data observed over long time periods. Consequently, often focus on intermediate outcomes.

49 Measuring Benefits Prevention poses special problems:
Aim is often to change behavior among more people. Increases costs in the short term. Community versus individual approach. Economies of scale possible. Provide walking trails; tax gasoline. Individual interventions often more costly.

50 How to Put it Together? Have costs and benefits, how to put them together? Depends on the type of EE.

51 Definition Cost-minimization Analysis
Populations served must be identical Outputs for all alternatives must be identical Timeframes must be the same Search for alternative that yields the lowest total cost

52 CMA Example Deliver dental sealants to school children
Choose staffing that minimizes program cost per student No supervision General supervision Indirect supervision Direct supervision Scherrer, CR, et al, Public Health Sealant Delivery Programs, Medical Decision Making, Nov-Dec 2007

53 Definition Return on Investment (ROI) or Business Case
Answers question: Will an activity pay for itself? Analysis of net discounted cash flow to entity paying for an intervention Typically short-term (1-5 years) Perspective is key to determining costs and consequences to include in analysis Kerry

54 Why develop a business case?
A positive business case increases the probability that a prevention intervention will be sustained ROI analyses are most easily understood by administrators and budget officers Brownson CA and Kilpatrick KE, Building a Business Case for Diabetes Self Management: A Handbook for Program Managers, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2008 (available at

55 Return on Investment Example
CareOregon (Portland): initiated case management for high-risk Medicaid enrollees with multiple comorbidities Study design: before-after design compared to baseline Investment costs: $526,290 Discounted savings: $6,423,776 Return on investment: : 1 Greene SB, et al, Searching for a business case for quality in Medicaid managed care, Health Care Management Review, 2008, 33(4),

56 Definition Cost-benefit Analysis
Cost-benefit analysis values both the costs and benefits of a program, project, or treatment in monetary terms. Result of analysis The net benefit of the project (e.g. benefits minus costs, or $12,000) OR The ratio of costs divided by benefits (e.g. ½).

57 Cost Benefit Example Intervention: Neighborhood-based program to prevent teen pregnancy Program costs: $9,386 per participant per year Effects: reduced teen pregnancy from 94/1000 to 40/1000 Cost: $26,142 per birth averted Saved: $81,256 society costs/birth averted Rosenthal MS, et al., Economic Evaluation of a Comprehensive Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program, Am J Prev Med 2009;37(6s1)

58 Example ICBR Smaller ratio is better ICB ratio = $26,142 = .322
$81,256 Smaller ratio is better

59 Cost-benefit Analysis
Gold Standard for EE. Allows for economic comparison of widely disparate publicly funded programs in such areas as health, education, and the environment. Problem: valuing a life in monetary terms.

60 Definition Cost-effectiveness Analysis
Cost-effectiveness analysis measures the benefits of a program in naturally occurring health units, such as lives saved. Example of a study result: $10,000 per life saved.

61 CEA Example Intervention: Smoking cessation program in the workplace
Effect measured: Number of people who quit smoking ICER = $596 cost per additional quitter This cost was less than “high intensity” interventions by clinicians Tanaka H et al. Effectiveness of low-intensity intra-workplace intervention on smoking cessation in Japanese employees: a three year interventionTrial, J. Occup Health 2006; 48(3): 61

62 Cost-effectiveness Analysis
CEA formerly most common form of EE conducted in health arena. Limited in its ability to report outcomes. Often, there are multiple outcomes. Limited in its ability to compare interventions.

63 Three Projects Example
A nursing program for newborns and their parents costs $50,000 per year and serves 50 infants with high-risk conditions A screening program that visits local malls and community centers costs $15,000 and provides information to about 5,000 persons A vaccination program costs $100,000 and provides vaccinations to 20,000 area children

64 Three Projects Example and CEA
Screening program Cost-effectiveness ratio is $15,000/5000 or $3 per attendee Nurses for infants Cost-effectiveness ratio is $50,000/50 infants or $1,000 per infant Vaccination program Cost-effectiveness ratio is $100,000 /20,000 or $5 per child

65 Definition Cost-utility Analysis
Cost-utility analysis compares the costs of different programs, projects, or treatments with their outcomes measured in “utility based units” which are related to a person’s health related quality of life. Example of a study result: $10,000 per quality-adjusted life year, or $10,000/QALY.

66 Definition Cost-utility Analysis
Becoming the most common form of analysis. Widely used in Britain and Canada. Allows comparison of many projects with health-related outcomes. Often called cost-effectiveness analysis; closely related.

67 Quality adjusted life years
CUA Formula (direct costs + indirect costs - averted treatment costs) Cost - utility ratio = Quality adjusted life years Output of CUA is ‘cost per QALY’

68 Cost-utility Outcomes
Outputs are measured in terms of a preference-based outcome measure. Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYS): the number of years at full health that would be valued equivalently to a given number of years of life experienced with a disease or disability. Other measures are available, this is the most common.

69 Why Measure Quality of Life?
Health care outcomes are multidimensional. - Length of life, or mortality. - Quality of life, or morbidity. Allows for more than one disease or health problem to be compared. Considers the individual’s preference for health outcomes.

70 How QALYS Are Measured One year of life in excellent health is assigned a value of 1; death is given a value of 0. A health state is described and its utility or quality elicited. The value assigned to quality of life is referred to as health utility. .5 1

71 An example of estimated health utility values for diabetes
4/2/2017 An example of estimated health utility values for diabetes This slide shows how the quality of life change with an increase number of diabetes related complications. For example, for person with diabetes treated with diet and exercise , they utility value is 0.69 and their quality of life will decrease another 0.02 if they went to on oral agent and so on. What does o.69 means? It mean that people in a perfect health would willingly give up 0.31 year or about 4 months of their life to avoid a year of living with diabetes. Coffey et al Diabetes Care 71


73 Problems With QALYs Subjective and difficult to measure.
Whose QALYs should count? A representative sample of the population or the affected group? QALY scales will differ depending upon factors such as age, gender

74 Stop Smoking Example After considering your community and its public health problems, your organization has identified smoking as a problem you can address. Two interventions are being considered; only one can be done.

75 Stop Smoking Example Using CUA
Multicomponent interventions that include patient telephone support Suppose this would cost $150,000 and yield 1,000 quality-adjusted life years Healthcare provider reminder system Suppose this would cost $200,000 and yield 2,000 quality-adjusted life years ICER for B vs. A = $50,000/1000 QALYs or $50/QALY

76 Cost Utility Example Intervention: Diabetes self-management programs in primary care settings Program costs: $866 per participant per year Effects: 87.5% benefited, A1c -.5%, total cholesterol. -10% ICER: $39,563/QALY saved Brownson CA, et al., Cost-effectiveness of Diabetes Self-management Programs in Community Primary Care Settings, Diabetes Ed, v. 35, no.5, 2009

77 How Do I Know If It’s Cost-Effective?
Are we almost there yet? Once I have the ratio, how do I know if it’s too high, too low, or just right?

78 Is It Worth It? Results can be used internally or externally
To rank programs internally To argue for external support Intermediate results, such as productivity gains, can be highlighted for some stakeholders

79 Using Results Internally
For internal use Rank options from lowest to highest ratio. Start spending on lowest ratio, move on until the money is exhausted What have we spent before?

80 Using Results Externally
The ICER is compared to a threshold value Suggested U.S. threshold is $50,000 to $100,000 per QALY at minimum

81 Exercise 81

82 Two Other Important Features
Before study is complete, should consider Discounting Sensitivity analysis

83 Discounting Time value of money.
A dollar in the future will be worth less than a dollar in the present. Needed to compare present value and future value of benefits from project. Recommend a discount rate of 3-5%. Discount rate chosen can affect results.

84 Discounting in Practice
Suppose you want to find the present value of $100 received in 10 years. Several options for finding this. Tables in finance and accounting books. Excel or other spreadsheet programs. The internet: Google “present value calculator” and several pop up.

85 Sensitivity Analysis EE is based on estimates and assumptions – want to vary them and see how robust the results are. Variables to test in sensitivity analysis should include the “top 3” or “top 5” “wobbliest” assumptions. Analysis should be redone varying the assumptions.

86 EE Results Reporting The ICER(s) should be reported for the intervention(s) studied for the base case. ICERs may be reported for subgroups of the population. ICERs should be reported for different assumptions (sensitivity analysis).

87 How is This Done in Practice?
Back of the envelope EE Draw a decision tree, follow the costs and benefits, form the ratio No economist required Primary data collection Often alongside an intervention Collect cost and benefit data Economist works with team

88 How is This Done in Practice?
Synthetic EE Follow a hypothetical cohort of persons Use the literature to obtain cost and benefit estimates Rely on modeling and computer analysis Economist leads the team

89 Who?

90 Who Does EE? Some economists are trained to do EE.
Most EEs require a multi-disciplinary team. Few public health agencies have the resources to have a staff economist – so think collaboratively – local colleges.

91 Where?

92 Web Resources The economics section of The Community Guide, it includes systematic reviews of EEs for recommended activities. The Cost Effectiveness Analysis Registry at Tufts – New England Medical Center. Includes EE results and QALY estimates for numerous conditions.

93 Web Resources The Cochrane library, a reliable source of information on the effects of interventions in health care. Economic evaluations are available at or by clicking from the web site above.

94 Web Resources The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York. Includes several searchable databases; of particular interest is the NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED), which provides article summaries, similar to the Community Guide. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence. A more general database (the prior website is reachable through this site, for example) it includes RSS feed capabilities.

95 NHS – EED Provides summaries of EE articles Easily searchable
Follows a standard format Summary is about 2 pages or less Can then click on full report, which may be several pages Easily searchable Good accessible instructions for searching

96 Sample NHS EED Results Topic Hits Smoking cessation 146
Diabetes prevention 279 Obesity 208 Obesity prevention 40 Physical activity 106 “Physical activity” 44

97 Reference Books Drummond MF, Sculpher MJ, Torrance GW, O'Brien BJ, Stoddart GL. Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2005. Muennig P (Contributing Editor, Kahn K). Designing and Conducting Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health and Medicine. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, (2nd edition forthcoming).

98 Search Tips General strategy: search for the intervention of interest AND economic evaluation Often easier to run 2 searches – 1 for intervention and 1 for economic evaluation, and then combine them

99 Search Tips If you want any type of economic evaluation, search for ‘cost-benefit’ OR ‘cost effectiveness’ OR ‘cost utility’ “cost-effective” is a buzzword that will net a lot of articles! Articles in intervention journals will be more verbose on the EE and terse on the intervention; articles in economic journals will be the reverse.

100 Economic Journals With an EE Focus
Health Economics Journal of Health Economics Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation Health Technology Assessment Applied Health Economics and Health Policy Value in Health

101 Summary Economic evaluation is the comparison of costs and benefits to determine the most efficient allocation of scarce resources. Economic evaluations can use existing or new information and can provide a reliable tool for decision making among public health professionals and policy makers. Though relatively sophisticated, the underlying logic and structure of an economic evaluation can be understood.

102 Summary Several challenges (e.g., inconsistent quality, methodological issues, difficulties in implementation) should be kept in mind when considering the use of economic evaluations. Economic evaluation will be increasingly used, especially in times of limited public health resources, and practitioners must be able to understand them so that they can argue for setting appropriate public health priorities.

103 “It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, 1999

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