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Clin Ther. 1993 Nov-Dec;15(6):1121-32; discussion 1120.

Economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes: a planning model for pharmacoeconomic research.

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  • 1University of South Carolina, College of Pharmacy, Columbia.


Medical, ethical, and societal concerns about costs, access, and quality of care are causing health care practitioners to consider a more comprehensive model for medical decision making. Consequently, interest in research to assess the outcomes of health care has been increasing. The purpose of this paper is to explicate a theoretical framework for identifying, collecting, and using outcomes data to assess the value of pharmaceutical treatment alternatives. Causal relationships between disease, health outcomes, and decisions about medical care interventions (eg, treatment with pharmaceutical products and services) are proposed to address limitations inherent in the traditional medical decision-making model. The Economic, Clinical, and Humanistic Outcomes (ECHO) model depicts the value of a pharmaceutical product or service as a combination of traditional clinical-based outcomes with more contemporary measures of economic efficiency and quality. This integrated approach provides a theoretical basis for considering potential trade-offs among economic, clinical, and humanistic variables in optimizing the allocation of health care resources. The ECHO model is a preliminary step to modeling outcomes from pharmaceutical treatments and services. Data collection instruments need to be developed, and the proposed relationships among outcomes variables should be established empirically. The ECHO model should assist health services researchers in planning, conducting, and evaluating pharmaceutical products and services from a multidimensional perspective.

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