Importance: Since publication of the report by the Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine in 1996, researchers have advanced the methods of cost-effectiveness analysis, and policy makers have experimented with its application. The need to deliver health care efficiently and the importance of using analytic techniques to understand the clinical and economic consequences of strategies to improve health have increased in recent years.
Objective: To review the state of the field and provide recommendations to improve the quality of cost-effectiveness analyses. The intended audiences include researchers, government policy makers, public health officials, health care administrators, payers, businesses, clinicians, patients, and consumers.
Design: In 2012, the Second Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine was formed and included 2 co-chairs, 13 members, and 3 additional members of a leadership group. These members were selected on the basis of their experience in the field to provide broad expertise in the design, conduct, and use of cost-effectiveness analyses. Over the next 3.5 years, the panel developed recommendations by consensus. These recommendations were then reviewed by invited external reviewers and through a public posting process.
Findings: The concept of a "reference case" and a set of standard methodological practices that all cost-effectiveness analyses should follow to improve quality and comparability are recommended. All cost-effectiveness analyses should report 2 reference case analyses: one based on a health care sector perspective and another based on a societal perspective. The use of an "impact inventory," which is a structured table that contains consequences (both inside and outside the formal health care sector), intended to clarify the scope and boundaries of the 2 reference case analyses is also recommended. This special communication reviews these recommendations and others concerning the estimation of the consequences of interventions, the valuation of health outcomes, and the reporting of cost-effectiveness analyses.
Conclusions and relevance: The Second Panel reviewed the current status of the field of cost-effectiveness analysis and developed a new set of recommendations. Major changes include the recommendation to perform analyses from 2 reference case perspectives and to provide an impact inventory to clarify included consequences.