Publication details for Professor James MasonMason, JM, Freemantle, N, Nazareth, I, Eccles, M, Haines, A & Drummond, M (2001). When is it cost-effective to change the behaviour of health professionals? JAMA 286(23): 2988-2992.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0098-7484, 1538-3598
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Because of the workings of health care systems, new, important, and cost-effective treatments sometimes do not become routine care while well-marketed products of equivocal value achieve widespread adoption. Should policymakers attempt to influence clinical behavior and correct for these inefficiencies? Implementation methods achieve a certain level of behavioral change but cost money to enact. These factors can be combined with the cost-effectiveness of treatments to estimate an overall policy cost-effectiveness. In general, policy cost-effectiveness is always less attractive than treatment cost-effectiveness. Consequently trying to improve the uptake of underused cost-effective care or reduce the overuse of new and expensive treatments may not always make economic sense. In this article, we present a method for calculating policy cost-effectiveness and illustrate it with examples from a recent trial, conducted during 1997 and 1998, of educational outreach by community pharmacists to influence physician prescribing in England.