Background: Decision makers usually limit their use of economic evaluations of preventive interventions to the cost-effectiveness ratio.
Objective: To show decision makers how economic evaluations can be used to understand the cost-effectiveness of different options for altering health intervention strategies.
Observations: Cost-effectiveness analysis provides insights into many factors that contribute to the overall benefits, hazards, and costs of interventions. This article reviews how epidemiologic and intervention characteristics, costs, natural history, targeting, and current interventions influence the value of prevention strategies.
Conclusion: Understanding the factors that contribute to the overall costs and effectiveness of interventions should allow decision makers to better adapt interventions to their needs.