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Filetype[PDF-402.95 KB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Healthcare (Basel)
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    • Description:
      Decision makers sometimes request information on the cost savings, cost-effectiveness, or cost-benefit of public health programs. In practice, quantifying the health and economic benefits of population-level screening programs such as newborn screening (NBS) is challenging. It requires that one specify the frequencies of health outcomes and events, such as hospitalizations, for a cohort of children with a given condition under two different scenarios-with or without NBS. Such analyses also assume that everything else, including treatments, is the same between groups. Lack of comparable data for representative screened and unscreened cohorts that are exposed to the same treatments following diagnosis can result in either under- or over-statement of differences. Accordingly, the benefits of early detection may be understated or overstated. This paper illustrates these common problems through a review of past economic evaluations of screening for two historically significant conditions, phenylketonuria and cystic fibrosis. In both examples qualitative judgments about the value of prompt identification and early treatment to an affected child were more influential than specific numerical estimates of lives or costs saved.
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