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Decision makers often use value-based decision rules to determine whether technologies offer good value for money and should therefore be adopted, comparing cost-effectiveness analysis results with a threshold value. This assumes that decision makers are indifferent to interventions with the same expected value but different levels of underlying uncertainty. Such indifference is unlikely to hold in practice. We propose a risk-based price and accompanying decision rules to address this limitation.
We characterized risk using the per-patient expected value of perfect independent information (EVPII), a modification of a standard output from value of information analysis. The EVPII estimates the expected value of net benefit losses caused by uncertainty related to a technology, independent of the uncertainty related to alternative treatments. ‘Payer risk tolerance’ is then defined as the maximum per-patient risk of making wrong decisions that payers are willing to accept, expressed in monetary terms. The risk-based price is the price at which the EVPII is equal to the payer risk tolerance.
The risk-based pricing decision rules are as follows: (i) a technology is acceptable for adoption at the submitted price if the incremental net benefit of the technology is greater than or equal to zero and the EVPII is less than or equal to the payer risk tolerance; and (ii) the optimal technology has the greatest expected net benefit at the lowest of the sponsor submitted, value-based, or risk-based price at a given cost-effectiveness threshold value.
The risk-based price incorporates uncertainty and risk attitudes into decision-making. We demonstrate that both risk-averse and risk-neutral payers prefer the outcomes of risk-based pricing. Risk-based decision rules incentivize sponsors to develop evidence. Implementation of the risk-based price improves outcomes for patients by increasing health system net benefits under constrained resources, with better alignment to decision maker risk attitudes.
Incentives for healthcare providers may also affect non-targeted patients. These spillover effects have important implications for the full impact and evaluation of incentive schemes. However, there are few studies on the extent of such spillovers in health care. We investigated whether incentives to perform surgical procedures as daycases affected whether other elective procedures in the same specialties were also treated as daycases.
8,505,754 patients treated for 92 non-targeted procedures in 127 hospital trusts in England between April and March 2016.
Interrupted time series analysis of the probability of being treated as a daycase for non-targeted patients treated in six specialties where targeted patients were also treated and three specialties where they were not.
The daycase rate initially increased (1.04 percentage points, SE: 0.30) for patients undergoing a non-targeted procedure in incentivised specialties but then reduced over time. Conversely, the daycase rate gradually decreased over time for patients treated in a non-incentivised specialty.
Spillovers from financial incentives have variable effects over different activities and over time. Policymakers and researchers should consider the possibility of spillovers in the design and evaluation of incentive schemes.
Equitable access to mental healthcare is a priority for many countries. The National Health Service in England uses a weighted capitation formula to ensure that the geographical distribution of resources reflects need.
To produce a revised formula for estimating local need for secondary mental health, learning disability (intellectual disability) and psychological therapies services for adults in England.
We used demographic records for 43 751 535 adults registered with a primary care practitioner in England linked with service use, ethnicity, physical health diagnoses and type of household, from multiple data-sets. Using linear regression, we estimated the individual cost of care in 2015 as a function of individual- and area-level need and supply variables in 2013 and 2014. We sterilised the effects of the supply variables to obtain individual-need estimates. We aggregated these by general practitioner practice, age and gender to derive weights for the national capitation formula.
Higher costs were associated with: being 30–50 years old, compared with 20–24; being Irish, Black African, Black Caribbean or of mixed ethnicity, compared with White British; having been admitted for specific physical health conditions, including drug poisoning; living alone, in a care home or in a communal environment; and living in areas with a higher percentage of out-of-work benefit recipients and higher prevalence of severe mental illness. Longer distance from a provider was associated with lower cost.
The resulting needs weights were higher in more deprived areas and informed the distribution of some 12% (£9 bn in 2019/20) of the health budget allocated to local organisations for 2019/20 to 2023/24.
Metaphors are inescapable in human discourse. Policy researchers have suggested that the use of particular metaphors by those implementing policy changes both influences perceptions of underlying reality and determines what solutions seem possible, and that exploring ‘practice languages’ is important in understanding how policy is enacted. This paper contributes to the literature exploring the generative nature of metaphors in policy implementation, demonstrating their role in not just describing the world, but also framing it, determining what is seen/unseen, and what solutions seem possible. The metaphor ‘care pathway’ is ubiquitous and institutionalised in healthcare. We build upon existing work critiquing its use in care delivery, and explore its use in health care commissioning, using evidence from the recent reorganisation of the English NHS. We show that the pathways metaphor is ubiquitous, but not necessarily straightforward. Conceptualising health care planning as ‘designing a pathway’ may make the task more difficult, suggesting a limited range of approaches and solutions. We offer an alternative metaphor: the service map. We discuss how approaches to care design might be altered by using this different metaphor, and explore what it might offer. We argue not for a barren language devoid of metaphors, but for their more conscious use.
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