International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

General Essays

Standardizing Methodologies for Economic Evaluation in Health Care: Practice, Problems, and Potential

Michael Drummonda1, Arno Brandta2, Bryan Lucea3 and Joan Roviraa4

a1 University of York

a2 Institute for Medical Informatics and Biostatistics

a3 Battelle MEDTAP Research Center



There has been an exponential growth in the literature on economic evaluation in health care. As the range and quality of analytical work has improved, economic studies are becoming more influential with health care decision makers. The development of standards for economic evaluation methods would help maintain the scientific quality of studies, facilitate the comparison of economic evaluation results for different health care interventions, and assist in the interpretation of results from setting to setting. However, standardization might unnecessarily stifle methodological developments. This paper reviews the arguments for and against standardization, assesses attempts to date, outlines the main areas of agreement and disagreement on methods for economic evaluation, and makes recommendations for further work.