The Development of a Tool to Assess Quality of Cost Estimates
Objective: To develop and implement a quality assessment instrument to evaluate cost estimates in economic evaluation studies. Design and setting: The assessment instrument was devised through a consensus process. The instrument was developed in the process of estimating a national set of provincial standard costs for healthcare services in Canada. Participants: All healthcare providers for a variety of services including public health, inpatient acute care, ambulatory care, physicians, pharmaceuticals, blood and ambulance services, and workers' lost productivity. Main outcome measures: An assessment form which evaluated estimates for the full cost of resources; the appropriate inclusion of resources and resource prices; the degree of detail in the unit of measurement; basis of evidence; and the sample of providers from which cost estimates were generated. Results: When applied to existing cost estimates, a wide variation in quality was observed between service categories and provinces. Inpatient hospital, physician services, and drugs had high quality estimates; public health, nursing home, and home care had lower quality estimates. Conclusions: This quality assessment instrument can be used to target deficiencies in cost estimates and to identify administrative units which are leaders in the field, and hence which can serve as role models for further development of these data.
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