Why cost effectiveness analysis is important in public health

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is a method used in health economics and healthcare planning to compare the costs and benefits of different healthcare interventions. CEA is particularly important in public health because it helps policymakers and healthcare providers to make informed decisions about which interventions to prioritise and invest in.

Vaccination is a good example of why incremental CEA is important. Vaccination programs can be expensive, and policymakers need to know if the benefits of vaccination outweigh the costs. Incremental CEA can help answer this question by comparing the costs and health outcomes of vaccination to other interventions, or to doing nothing at all.

There are many factors that can affect the cost-effectiveness of a public health intervention. These include the cost of the intervention, the effectiveness of the intervention, and the value of the health outcomes that are achieved (such as a reduction in hospital admissions). The cost of an intervention can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the resources that are needed to implement the intervention, the number of people who are affected by the intervention, and the cost of any associated treatment or care.

The effectiveness of an intervention can also vary depending on the characteristics of the population that is being targeted. In general, public health programmes are more cost-effective in people with a higher risk of poor health outcomes. This is why older people are often targeted. By using incremental CEA, policymakers can identify which public health programmes provide the most health benefits for the lowest cost. They can also use this information to determine the optimal allocation of resources and funding to achieve the best population health outcomes.

Additionally, by comparing the cost-effectiveness of different public health strategies, they can make more informed decisions about which interventions to prioritize and invest in, helping to maximize the overall impact of limited public health resources. As well as vaccination, we can also use CEA to look at other public health programme such as screening for cancer, interventions to promote healthy diets and increase physical activity, and programmes to support people to quit smoking.