Influence of waiting time on cost-effectiveness

Soc Sci Med. 2005 Jun;60(11):2501-4. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.11.022. Epub 2004 Dec 16.


Economic evaluations of health care programs are intended to support policy decisions and therefore should incorporate elements of the health care environment such as waiting lists. We explore possible relationships between waiting time and the cost-effectiveness of health care programs. The impact of waiting on cost-effectiveness is very scenario dependent and may be substantial, especially if health loss while waiting is partly or completely non-reversible. We argue that economic evaluations of health care programs in countries with waiting lists should consider the possible impact of waiting on costs and health effects.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Waiting Lists*