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Baltimore, MD–An international research group showed that policy makers can systematically account for both fairness and efficiency in health decisions. This is an important step as there is a growing need for better decision making worldwide in health to more appropriately reflect societal preferences. Moreover, the approach quantifies by exactly how much these preferences differ and were tested for various characteristics of health programs.

The researchers sought to answer the question: what is valued in health policy across countries? To do this, the study used a preference elicitation technique, discrete choice experiments, existing in social marketing and patient outcomes research and tested how policy maker values relate to fairness and efficiency in Brazil, Cuba, Ghana, Nepal and Norway.

These country cases reflect the feasibility for this method in both developed and developing country settings and also for in the United States and the United Kingdom regarding health financing schemes.

The study, “Decision Making Criteria Among National Policy Makers In Five Countries: A Discrete Choice Experiment Eliciting Relative Preferences For Equity And Efficiency,”  was carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Australian National University, Federal University of São Paulo and Radboud University, The Netherlands.

Co-author and data coordinator Francesco Paolucci argues all country stakeholders will be interested in this method for setting priorities in health.

This will be discussed in Volume 15, Issue 3 (May 2012), of Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). 

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers worldwide).

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health. 

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