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Estimating costs in the economic evaluation of medical technologies.


The complexities and nuances of evaluating the costs associated with providing medical technologies are often underestimated by analysts engaged in economic evaluations. This article describes the theoretical underpinnings of cost estimation, emphasizing the importance of accounting for opportunity costs and marginal costs. The various types of costs that should be considered in an analysis are described; a listing of specific cost elements may provide a helpful guide to analysis. The process of identifying and estimating costs is detailed, and practical recommendations for handling the challenges of cost estimation are provided. The roles of sensitivity analysis and discounting are characterized, as are determinants of the types of costs to include in an analysis. Finally, common problems facing the analyst are enumerated with suggestions for managing these problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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