Lessard C., & Birch S. (2010). Complex Problems or Simple Solutions? Enhancing Evidence-based Economics to Reflect Reality. CHEPA Working Paper Series. http://www.chepa.org/Libraries/PDFs/WP_09_05.sflb.ashx.
This working paper focuses attention on the importance of incorporating complexity in ‘evidence-based health economics’ or what might be more accurately described as applied economic evaluation. As demands for new health care technologies1 increase in environments of cost-containment, choices must be made about which interventions to fund. Similar problems arise in other sectors as decision-makers struggle to determine the most productive ways of deploying the resources available to them. The evidence-based approach has drawn on economics aimed at providing analytical frameworks to inform decision-making about effectiveness and efficiency of resource use. These frameworks increasingly form the basis for resource allocation decisions. For example, jurisdictions have adopted formal requirements and guidelines for economic evaluation in health care (1-4). Donaldson and colleagues (5) recognise the need for the application of evidence-based principles in the practice of economic evaluation. However, the importance of adopting evidence-based approaches in health economics is not confined to the economic evaluation of new technologies. Health economics encompasses a much broader range of influences and constraints on the production of health, illness and recovery in populations (6). Moreover, under an evidence-based approach, the methods and processes used, as well as the principles and assumptions on which they are based, must themselves be compatible with the concepts of economics (5).