A utility maximization model for evaluation of health care programs

Health Serv Res. Summer 1972;7(2):118-33.


A linear health utility scale is described, complete with measurement instruments, that allows assignment of utility values to health states for any disease or treatment program. Given that the change produced by a health care program in the health states of a population is determinable, this utility scale permits assessment of the effectiveness of that program in terms of the change it produces in overall health utility. This is the basis of a model that will rank programs by their effectiveness/cost ratios or select them into a subset achieving the maximum effectiveness under specific cost or other constraints. Two algorithms are described, suitable respectively for priority ranking and for selection of programs giving maximum effectiveness under constraints, and the application of the model is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Computers
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Health
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Personal Health Services*
  • Prognosis