Economic Evaluations of Healthcare Programmes and Decision Making: The Influence of Economic Evaluations on Different Healthcare Decision-Making Levels
Marieke E. van Velden
Johan L. Severens
Given the potential role of economic information in healthcare decision making, it is of interest to assess its influence on decisions at a national or regional level (macro level), at a healthcare facility level (meso level) and at the healthcare provider level (micro level). This literature review summarises 36 empirical studies that examined the influence of economic evaluations on these three healthcare decision-making levels. Economic evaluations are considered useful and important; however, their direct influence on decision making (instrumental use) is moderate, especially at the macro and micro levels. A major influence was observed at the meso level, leading to the conclusion that economic evaluations have the most pronounced influence on decision making within healthcare organisations. However, unexpectedly, our literature search did not reveal an empirical study analysing the considerable influence of economic evaluations on decisions by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK. Our findings indicate that results of economic evaluations cannot be considered the dominant decision criterion for healthcare decision makers at either the macro, meso or micro levels. Enlightenment use (where scientific evidence provides a background of information, ideas and concepts that affect the way policy makers view problems and solutions) of economic evaluations in decision making remains to be proven.
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