Cost-Effectiveness Should Play a Role in Health Decisions

May 21, 2008

The American College of Physicians proposes that an independent organization be established to provide reliable information to patients and providers on the comparative clinical and cost effectiveness of various medical interventions, according to a position paper published in the June 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) proposes that an independent organization be established to provide reliable information to patients and providers on the comparative clinical and cost effectiveness of various medical interventions, according to a position paper published in the June 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Neil Kirschner, Ph.D., of the ACP and colleagues discuss the rationale for using cost-effectiveness data and make recommendations for a proposed national entity to disseminate comparative cost-effectiveness data to benefit patients and the health care system alike.

Due to escalating health care costs, limited resources and the "de facto rationing" produced by having 47 million uninsured patients without access to care, patients, providers and insurers must purposefully and transparently incorporate data on clinical efficacy and cost effectiveness into clinical decision-making, the authors argue. They call for the creation of a trusted, independent, well-funded organization that can disseminate cost-effectiveness data and educate the public about the need to modify the prevailing cultural bias that ignores cost in health care decisions.

"The economic impacts of interventions should be used in decision making along with evidence of clinical effectiveness," commented ACP president David M. Dale, M.D., "but the public and clinicians will only trust such information if it comes from an independent research source that does not itself have an economic conflict of interest in the results of its analyses."

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