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Is Economic Evaluation and Care Commissioning Focused on Achieving the Same Outcomes? Resource-Allocation Considerations and Challenges Using England as a Case Study

Franklin, M; Hinde, S; Hunter, RM; Richardson, G; Whittaker, W; (2024) Is Economic Evaluation and Care Commissioning Focused on Achieving the Same Outcomes? Resource-Allocation Considerations and Challenges Using England as a Case Study. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy 10.1007/s40258-024-00875-3. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Commissioning describes the process of contracting appropriate care services to address pre-identified needs through pre-agreed payment structures. Outcomes-based commissioning (i.e., paying services for pre-agreed outcomes) shares a common goal with economic evaluation: achieving value for money for relevant outcomes (e.g., health) achieved from a finite budget. We describe considerations and challenges as to the practical role of relevant outcomes for evaluation and commissioning, seeking to bridge a gap between economic evaluation evidence and care commissioning. We describe conceptual (e.g., what are ‘relevant’ outcomes) alongside practical considerations (e.g., quantifying and using relevant endpoint or surrogate outcomes) and pertinent issues when linking outcomes to commissioning-based payment mechanisms, using England as a case study. Economic evaluation often focuses on a single endpoint health-focused maximand, e.g., quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), whereas commissioning often focuses on activity-based surrogate outcomes (e.g., health monitoring), as easier-to-measure key performance indicators that are more acceptable (e.g., by clinicians) and amenable to being linked with payment structures. However, payments linked to endpoint and/or surrogate outcomes can lead to market inefficiencies; for example, when surrogates do not have the intended causal effect on endpoint outcomes or when service activity focuses on only people who can achieve prespecified payment-linked outcomes. Accounting for and explaining direct links from commissioners’ payment structures to surrogate and then endpoint economic outcomes is a vital step to bridging a gap between economic evaluation approaches and commissioning. Decision-analytic models could aid this but they must be designed to account for relevant surrogate and endpoint outcomes, the payments assigned to such outcomes, and their interaction with the system commissioners purport to influence.

Type: Article
Title: Is Economic Evaluation and Care Commissioning Focused on Achieving the Same Outcomes? Resource-Allocation Considerations and Challenges Using England as a Case Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s40258-024-00875-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40258-024-00875-3
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189440
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