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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Jun;70(3):482-93.

Applications of cost-effectiveness methodologies in behavioral medicine.

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  • 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0628, USA.


In 1996, the Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine developed standards for cost-effectiveness analysis. The standards include the use of a societal perspective, that treatments be evaluated in comparison with the best available alternative (rather than with no care at all), and that health benefits be expressed in standardized units. Guidelines for cost accounting were also offered. Among 24,562 references on cost-effectiveness in Medline between 1995 and 2000, only a handful were relevant to behavioral medicine. Only 19 studies published between 1983 and 2000 met criteria for further evaluation. Among analyses that were reported, only 2 studies were found consistent with the Panel's criteria for high-quality analyses, although more recent studies were more likely to meet methodological standards. There are substantial opportunities to advance behavioral medicine by performing standardized cost-effectiveness analyses.

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