The economics of healthcare

Governments spend billions of pounds on healthcare so it is critical that investment translates into improved health, that treatments are effective and safe, that health services are managed efficiently. Researchers at the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York have developed cost-effectiveness analysis methods that are used worldwide to determine how best to use resources, measuring the costs and benefits of care systematically while taking into account value to patients value and society.

York researchers advised the government on the creation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and their work is used by similar national agencies across the world. As a result, cost-effective interventions for a number of conditions have been adopted by the NHS.

York health economists have made a central contribution to the measurement of health service performance and productivity, advising the UK government, the WH O and the OECD. York won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2007 for its groundbreaking concepts for measuring benefit and productivity, and outstanding contributions to public health policy.

Impact from York health service research has been wide-ranging, from developing guidance which has reduced cancer death rates, to areas such as mental health services, wound care and substance abuse. Research has also led to cost-effective interventions being more widely provided such as the introduction of flu vaccination for all those over 65.

Policy area

Related case studies

Reducing blood transfusions to lower patient risk, reduce costs and save lives

More than half a million people in the UK receive a blood transfusion each year and demand is increasing. Our ageing population, and a stringent donor selection process, mean the supply of blood is limited. 40% fewer new donors came forward last year compared with a decade ago. Recognising these challenges, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown the benefits of reducing the use of blood transfusions in intensive care and surgery.

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