Health, work and society: Improving health economic evaluations

Decision makers need to decide how to best allocate limited societal and healthcare resources to fund different healthcare services. Health economic evaluation is a tool commonly used to inform these types of funding decisions; however, which costs to consider in economic evaluation can have a significant impact on the resulting funding decision. A societal perspective considers costs within the formal healthcare sector (e.g., physician, hospital and drug costs) as well as costs outside the healthcare sector (e.g., work productivity costs of patients and their family caregivers). Existing health economic evaluations have largely ignored patient and caregiver work productivity costs mainly due to the limitations in current measurement methods.

My program of research will focus on the development of methods that will provide accurate estimates of patient and caregiver work productivity costs. These methods will then be applied and tested in an economic evaluation of new treatments for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Ultimately, my research findings will help improve health economic evaluations for other diseases, leading to better healthcare decision making in BC, Canada and beyond.