Priority Setting and Evidence Based Purchasing

Health Care Analysis 7 (2):139-151 (1999)
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The purpose of this paper is to consider the role that values play in priority setting through the use of EBP. It is important to be clear about the role of values at all levels of the decision making process. At one level, society as a whole has to make decisions about the kind of health provision that it wants. As is generally accepted, these priority setting questions cannot be answered by medical science alone but involve important judgements of value. However, as I hope to show values come into priority setting questions at another level, one not often explicitly recognised in much of the literature: that of the very definition of the effectiveness of treatments. This has important consequences for patient care. If we do not recognise that the effectiveness of a treatment involve subjective elements — a patient's own assessment of the value of the treatment — then this could lead to the belief that we can purchase one treatment that is the most effective for all patients. This might result in a detrimental reduction in the range of options that a patient is given with some patients not receiving the treatment that is most effective for them



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Author's Profile

Lucy Frith
University of Liverpool

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
The philosophy of science.David Papineau (ed.) - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Medicine, Patients and the Law.Margaret Brazier & Emma Cave - 1992 (MB), 2011 - Penguin Books.

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