There are some equity principles that do not take this form. Costs in economics usually means opportunity costs. If we also assume that suppliers aim to make as much income as possible from what they sell, then they will wish to keep down the costs of production by choosing the most efficient production methods. $Y���@��c ts)X%� �@0 /b� The principle of procedural justice might mean that the process used to decide on the allocation of health care resources between people should be fair. Economists are specialists in the analysis of efficiency and largely agree about what it means, and about definitions of different types of efficiency. Nowhere in the world is there a health care system that devotes enough resources to health care to meet all of its citizens’ wants. Reducing the number of low dependency days at the end of the stay will therefore save far fewer costs than might be expected by looking at the average. If we change from one allocation of resources to another, for example changing the health care system in terms of the kind of care that is made available, and as a result some people get better care and no-one gets worse care, this is described as a Pareto improvement. Health care is such an economic good: first, because the resources used to provide it are finite and we can only use more of these resources to create health care if we divert them from other uses; and secondly, because society’s wants for health care, that is what society would consume in the absence of constraints on its ability to pay for it, have no known bounds. This tries to define a criterion for judging different allocations of resources to different uses which might be widely acceptable. As a result, consumers may bid more, or suppliers may see the possibility that they can raise their price but still be able to sell all that they want. @�e��zW|���繪�q���s ���C��z�^��|�\}P%9�Q�^QV���h�� This is useful, because it suggests that the desire to achieve efficiency arises from the desire to improve the world. Vertical equity is the main focus in considering the finance of health care, in particular whether or not health care is financed according to people’s ability to pay. For example, different socioeconomic and ethnic groups might have different use of health services because they have different levels of ill-health. Health economics seeks to facilitate decision making by offering an explicit decision making framework based on the principle of efficiency. Equality means an equal distribution, but it may not always be fair to be equal. How inputs are converted into outputs may be affected by other mediating factors, for example the environment in which production takes place, such as whether the clinic is publicly or privately owned. Using the example above, some aspects of the treatment provided in a clinic could be undertaken either by doctors or nurses. Health Economics Information Resources: A Self-Study Course: Module 1 Additional Content A glossary of health economics and related terms is provided for your use and links have been made to appropriate terms. Further use of the concept of the margin is discussed in section 6, and a specific application of this in health care is discussed in section 8. Although society does make collective decisions about what, how and for whom to produce, in most modern economies this is largely done through markets, by the interaction of those who wish to buy (buyers, or consumers) and those who wish to sell (sellers, or suppliers). The more tests that are carried out, the more cases are detected. At the end of the stay there may simply be basic nursing care and ‘hotel’ costs, which will be much smaller than the costs averaged over the whole length of stay. The main contribution of economics is to analyse inequalities in health with respect to individual people rather than social groupings of various kinds, which has led to valuable contributions in the measurement of health inequalities (O'Donnell et al, 2007). However, the costs of each inpatient day in practice differ over the time spent in hospital. The supply side of the market is analysed in economics in two separate but related ways. Of course, the real economy is far more complex than this and no economist would pretend that this simple model is a precise description of reality. For example, it might be thought to be unfair both healthy and sick people are given equal amounts of health care. In practice, financial costs are very often used to measure opportunity costs, but this is not always the case. However, the marginal cost of the last operation performed within the existing capacity may have been quite small, simply the cost of theatre staff, disposables and subsequent care. One problem with this is that it is difficult to assess in practice what equal need means and how it might be measured. As a good, health is even more peculiar than health care, because of its characteristics. Health Economics Information Resources: A Self-Study Course. However, it also always asks if the issues are different in health care. It can be shown that if markets work perfectly, then they will produce a socially efficient economy. For example health care that is financed by local taxation may vary across regions; or payments may be related to use of services but the incidence of ill health – and therefore use of services – varies across people who have the same income. Similarly, a marginal benefit is the extra benefit gained by the consumption of one more unit of a good – again, it is not a small or unimportant benefit. A notable feature of this application is the concern for equity in health outcomes and health care provisi on. 281 0 obj <>stream Dartmouth Institute Professor and … These are defined as goods or services that are scarce relative to our wants for them. If the most that can be provided by one doctor and two nurses is 20 treatments each day, then it is technically inefficient to provide 19 treatments using that number of staff or to provide 20 treatments using more staff. The behaviour of some health care organisations, such as pharmaceutical companies, providers of services like dentistry, ophthalmic services and pharmaceutical dispensing and for-profit insurance companies can relatively easily be analysed using these models. Suppose Such health inequalities, particularly those that demonstrate that health status levels vary systematically and inversely with socioeconomic status, are always important in health policy debates within most countries and are a major concern of governments, depending on their political preferences. Incremental analysis means that the effects of changes in the use of resources are examined according to how they differ from current use. Economics analyses many economic activities by according to marginal principles, which is a special case of what is called incremental analysis. Analysis is focussed on, for example, how much costs and benefits are increased or decreased due to a change in resource use, rather than the absolute levels of costs and benefits that exist after the change. Health economics examines the costs and consequences of health issues, connecting public health science to real-world applications. h�b```�V�k" ���,'4CX&�t ��`6c����1��i+�IA�.� �f\���+l��z6u�o��), It is likely that these equity principles will conflict with each other. The equity concern in health outcomes arises because health is universally accepted as a merit good, a minimum of which each individual is entitled regardless of ability to pay (WH0, 1978). The marginal cost of treating an extra patient is often small.
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