Can We Measure the Social Importance of Health Care?
Smith, Peter C.
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 1999 Winter; 15(1): 89-107.
This paper examines the extent to which it is possible to measure the social importance, or macro benefits, of health care. In contrast to the many micro studies of the benefits of specific health care interventions, methodology relating to such macro benefits is at a very rudimentary stage. A theoretical model is presented that seeks to capture the social consequences of a health care system. In light of this model, three existing empirical approaches to answering the question are examined: the inventory approach, the avoidable mortality approach, and the production function approach. All three have severe limitations in terms of the underlying theoretical model, data availability, and analytic tools employed. A more fruitful approach may be to investigate the value of undertaking a direct survey of citizens' attitudes toward their health care system.
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