Defining Cost-Efficacy

Defining Cost-Efficacy

Budget cuts in health and rising expectations of improved quality of care impose arbitration on treatment and prevention priorities. These choices will be increasingly based on scientific, medical and economic hard evidence and not solely on the advice of clinicians on mechanistic studies, proof of concept or cohort analyzes. We have never been a greater need to demonstrate and compare the cost / effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions and preventive actions. Blog in Health emanates from these questions. Analyses cost / effectiveness assist medical and political decisions. They aim to identify the most efficient, economic way to view, to achieve a goal. Cost-effectiveness analysis is the main tool for comparing the cost of an intervention in the health sector and the prevention and expected health outcomes. “The health economic evaluation is to compare the value of a medical act, practice, a drug, an innovative organization or a screening program, etc. and the costs they generate. It thus gives governments and health professionals information on the economic consequences of diagnostic or therapeutic practices or screening programs “(National Health Authority, 2013).

More and more randomized controlled trials using these indicators to report their results. Meta-analyzes can identify the most effective at a lower cost operation. In other words, one that can benefit more people for the same financial envelope.

The cost / effectiveness

The cost / effectiveness ratio established between the costs of a therapeutic or preventive action (expressed in monetary units) and consequences (in terms of number of lives saved, number of years of life saved by number cases cured or prevented, frequency or duration reduced by disease, clinical or psychosocial parameters) diseases. The health effects are measured in physical units that depend on the goal of therapy or action of health prevention. The report analyzes the effects on each effectiveness.

Analyses cost / benefit

Analyses cost / benefit ratio of a set costs of a therapeutic or preventive action (expressed in monetary units) and its impact on quality of life. The effects are expressed in years of life gained quality-adjusted life. The result is the product of multiple effects reduced to a single value.

The cost / benefit analyzes

The cost-benefit analyzes establish a ratio between the costs of a therapeutic or preventive action (expressed in monetary units) and consequences (in monetary unit). The goal is to relate the benefits and costs.

The general message

The entry of economics research in decision-making policies and preventive care leads to move from a model of the patient to that of the client, with its good and bad sides.

What it means for Health Professionals

The concept of effectiveness of health returned with the concepts of cost / effectiveness, cost / benefit and cost / benefit. The underlying idea is to do better with constant average. The idea is also to optimize euros spent for the benefit of the greatest number of patients.

What it means  for Researchers

Randomized controlled trials will need to include more and more economic indicators to produce medical and economic outcomes that feed the meta-analyzes (Bourbeau et al., 2006). These analyzes weight with health authorities and health insurers.

What it means for Policymakers

Cost-effectiveness analysis compares policies, programs or projects together. It determines the cost in relation to a specific element related to its objective, the best investment strategies to achieve a given objective, what type of intervention or combination of interventions provide the best results in terms of program final goal and the resources available and at what level an additional investment can he significantly improve the outcome of an intervention.


Bourbeau J, Collet JP, Schwartzman K, Ducruet T, Nault D, Bradley D, COPD axis of the Respiratory Health Network of the FRSQ (2006). Economic benefits of self-management education in COPD. Chest, 130, 1704-1711.

To reference the Blog en Sante © article.

Ninot G (2014). Definition of the concept of cost / effectiveness. Blog en Sante, L12.

© Copyright 2014 Grégory Ninot. All rights reserved.