Cost-benefit Analysis and Health Care Evaluations
Professor Brent s book is a superb and much-needed text in the field of health care evaluation. The economic approaches for appraisal of health care programs are presented with greater clarity than any other available text. A comprehensive review of cost-minimization, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost utility analysis, and cost benefit analysis is given in a simple and yet very insightful manner that pointedly demonstrates their fundamental principles, methodological requirements, and common linkages for evaluation research. The book skilfully merges theory and application of the economic analyses of health care, combining the latest literature with adroit illustrations of required methodologies and easily understandable examples that inform the reader of how empirical evaluation research should be conducted. Major evaluation concerns about the appropriateness of discounting health benefits, the appropriate discount (interest) rate, and intangible benefits and costs are critically appraised. Not only is the criterion of economic efficiency of health care programs explored directly and with lucidity, but the important social question of the equity of health interventions is also assessed straightforwardly. Students of health care as well as health policy analysts and administrators are provided with a considerable solid foundation for undertaking evaluation of complex health care issues. In short, Professor Brent has even made the economics of health care evaluation accessible to non-economists in the health care field. Paul L. Solano, University of Delaware, US Cost benefit analysis is the only method of economic evaluation which can effectively indicate whether a health care treatment or intervention is worthwhile. This book attempts to build a bridge between cost benefit analysis, as developed by economists, and the health care evaluation literature which relies on other evaluation approaches such as cost-minimization, cost-effectiveness analysis and cost utility analysis. Robert Brent explains the many different ways in which these other valuation techniques can be converted into cost benefit analysis and examines both the traditional (human capital) and modern (willingness to pay) approaches. Case studies are used throughout to explain and illustrate the various methodologies being examined. The author follows an applied economics approach, in which methods and ideas are evaluated according to practicability and not according to their theoretical purity. Ultimately, he resolves a number of disputes and makes some new, but subtle, contributions by reinterpreting, correcting and extending existing work. The book covers the topic in an accessible manner, from the foundations to the frontiers of the field, and clearly explains all the necessary economic principles along the way. Cost Benefit Analysis and Health Care Evaluations will be invaluable to students and researchers of economics, public policy and health care policy, as well as policymakers and health care practitioners. It can also be used as a comprehensive introductory text by anyone with an interest in cost benefit analysis.