Technical Value in Healthcare

Technical Value in Healthcare: determined by how well resources are used within services for each individual and the whole population .

Technical Value

…the proper objective is the value of health care delivery, or the patient health outcomes relative to the total cost (inputs) of attaining those outcomes. (1)

Productivity is measured by the relationship between outputs and cost, for example the number of peopletreated per bed per year . Efficiency is measured by the relationship between outcomes, not outputs, and costs, where the costs may be expressed not only as money but also as carbon or time, including the time of patients and carers. Technical value has to take into account not only efficiency but also the possibility of overuse and underuse

This is not only achieved by evidence-based decision-making, essential though that is.  The balance of good to harm changes as the amount of resources invested in an intervention or service increases as Avedis Donabedian showed in his classic diagram in 1980 which is reproduced below:

Value is replacing quality as the dominant paradigm for healthcare in the 21st century. Value is of course increased by quality improvement, by doing things better, cheaper, safer and greener; but doing things right is only half the story – it is also essential to do the right things by making the right decisions about identifying and discontinuing lower value activities.

Erewhon Healthcare – The Best in the World

Erewhon has a population of 5 million people. It is a population with an age distribution typical of most developed countries with about 15% of the population over the age of 65, and the population is ageing. Most live in cities, with two big cities each with a medical school, and city living is increasing and there are some thriving towns and some depressed industrial areas and large sparsely populated rural areas.

The economy of Erewhon is improving slowly but taking into account the impact that population ageing has on health and social care; it is wise to work on the assumption that there will be no real increase in resources available for health and social care.  The population of Erewhon is covered by a payment system that is based on combination of tax and insurance but the responsibility for health services is discharged to 10 geographical areas each with a budget taking into account age and deprivation. They have the responsibility for resource allocation; the responsibility for health service provision is based primarily on programmes and systems. Each of the populations, served by the Health Boards called A-J, happen to have a hospital, largely for historical reasons, with two of them being larger teaching hospitals and there are ten Mental Health Services and about 50 general practice teams in each.