The long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions; a review of how we can model behaviour.
Studies assessing the effectiveness of public health interventions, like stop-smoking campaigns or exercise classes, often report outcomes at six or 12 months. To inform policy decisions, it is useful to predict the relative costs and benefits of these interventions over the longer term. Health economic models can be used to do this, but they usually make simple assumptions about the impact of interventions on longer-term behaviour based on little evidence or theory. These assumptions can greatly affect model results. To date, there has been little research about how to model behaviour within health economic models.
This project brings together experts from a range of disciplines including health economic modelling, systems engineering, health psychology, sociology and public policy. This review is the first of its kind. It aims to identify methods that have been used across these disciplines to include health-related behaviours in simulation models. The goal is to consider which methods could be used in health economic models to improve model predictions.
Policy makers have to make tough decisions about where to spend limited resources. We hope the findings of this review can improve health economic modelling methods for assessing public health interventions to help inform these decisions.
Dr Hazel Squires
This study was funded by the NIHR Fellowship Programme (NIHR301406). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
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