Value-Based Health Care Meets Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

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Abstract

Value-based health care (VBHC) has recently emerged as a prominent movement within health care. Value-based health care focuses on maximizing outcomes achieved per dollar spent. As such, it bears many similarities to a well-established method, cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), which provides a framework for comparing the relative value of different diagnostic or treatment interventions. Both approaches address “bang for the health care buck,” but although they overlap in many ways, VBHC and CEA differ with regard to their main applications, their perspective, and the types of costs and outcomes they consider. For example, CEA generally considers costs and benefits from the societal or health care sector perspectives, whereas VBHC is intended to adopt the patient perspective. As such, CEA is intended to inform coverage decisions at a group or population level and VBHC is intended to be implemented at the level of clinician–patient interactions. Meanwhile, value-based payment has emerged as a visible component of VBHC and is gaining a foothold in the United States in various forms, particularly bundled payments and accountable care organizations, in an effort to reward high-value care and disincentivize low-value care. Differences aside, as the worlds of VBHC and CEA begin to intersect, each discipline can learn from the other.

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