Health Services Research & Development

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O'Hanlon CE, Walling AM, Okeke E, Stevenson S, Wenger NS. A Framework to Guide Economic Analysis of Advance Care Planning. Journal of palliative medicine. 2018 Oct 1; 21(10):1480-1485.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is fundamental to guiding medical care at the end of life. Understanding the economic impact of ACP is critical to implementation, but most economic evaluations of ACP focus on only a few actors, such as hospitals. OBJECTIVE: To develop a framework for understanding and quantifying the economic effects of ACP, particularly its distributional consequences, for use in economic evaluations. DESIGN: Literature review of economic analyses of ACP and related costs to estimate magnitude and direction of costs and benefits for each actor and how data on these costs and benefits could be obtained or estimated. RESULTS: ACP can lead to more efficient allocation of resources by reducing low-value care and reallocating resources to high-value care, and can increase welfare by aligning care to patient preferences. This economic framework considers the costs and benefits of ACP that accrue to or are borne by six actors: the patient, the patient's family and caregivers, healthcare providers, acute care settings, subacute and home care settings, and payers. Program implementation costs and nonhealthcare costs, such as time costs borne by patients and caregivers, are included. Findings suggest that out-of-pocket costs for patients and families will likely change if subacute or home care is substituted for acute care, and subacute care utilization is likely to increase while primary healthcare providers and acute care settings may experience heterogeneous effects. CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive economic evaluation of ACP should consider how costs and benefits accrue to different actors.