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Health Services Research & Development

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HERC Health Economics Seminar

What Have We Learned from Economics Analyses of Prevention?

by Louise Russell, PhD
Seminar date: 1/19/2011

Description: Over the four decades since cost-effectiveness analysis was first applied to health and medicine, studies have shown that prevention usually adds to medical costs instead of reducing them. For prevention as for treatment, the issue is thus value for money: Which interventions produce the most health for the resources spent and should be given priority? In this seminar I discuss the methodology of cost-effectiveness analysis, review summary evidence from hundreds of studies, and present specific examples of prevention, such as medication for elevated cholesterol and screening for cancer. I show how careful choices about frequency, groups to target, and component costs can make interventions more or less cost-effective.

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