Why do health economists promote technology adoption rather than the search for efficiency? A proposal for a change in our approach to economic evaluation in health care

Graham Scotland (Corresponding Author), Bryan Stirling

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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At a time of intense pressure on health care budgets, the technology management challenge is for disinvestment in low-value technologies and re-investment in higher value alternatives. The aim of this paper is to explore ways in which health economists might begin to redress the observed imbalance between the evaluation of new and existing in-use technologies. The argument is not against evaluating new technologies but in favour of the ‘search for efficiency’, where the ultimate objective is to identify reallocations that improve population health in the face of resource scarcity. We explore why in-use technologies may be of low value and consider how economic evaluation analysts might embrace a broader efficiency lens; first through ‘technology management’ (a process of analysis and evidence-informed decision making throughout a technology’s life-cycle) and progressing through ‘pathway management’ (the search for efficiency gains across entire clinical care pathways). A number of model-based examples are used to illustrate the approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017



  • health economics methods
  • decision analysis
  • economic evaluation
  • cost-effectiveness analysis

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