Priority setting methods for cancer control and care

Priority setting is the focus of health economics—a branch of economics concerned with issues related to the scarcity of health care resources. With cancer expected to be Canada’s primary cause of death by 2010, priority setting in cancer control and care is imperative. An aging population, rising health care costs and increasing demand have resulted in the need for identifying effective and cost-effective ways to improve cancer patient outcomes. Basing his work on an internationally-recognized economic framework for priority setting (called Program Budgeting and Marginal Analysis), Dr. Stuart Peacock is developing new evidence-based methods to help health care decision-makers determine the most effective cancer interventions to fund. His research will develop three significant innovations within this framework: methods to address improvements in life expectancy and quality of life from health programs; methods to address community preferences and equity concerns; and measures to evaluate priority setting and evidence-based decision-making. Dr. Peacock’s goal is to develop an evidence-based framework for decision-making in cancer services that is transparent, explicit and accountable.