Many countries now use health technology assessment (HTA) to review new and emerging technologies, especially with regard to reimbursement, pricing and/or clinical guidelines. One of the common, but not universal, features of these systems is the use of economic evaluation, normally cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), to confirm that new technologies offer value for money. Many have criticised these systems as primarily being concerned with cost containment, rather than advancing the interests of patients or innovators. This paper calls into question the underlying principles of CEA by arguing that value in the healthcare system may in fact be unconstrained. It is suggested that 'lean management principles' can be used not only to trim waste from the health system, but as a method of creating real incentives for innovation and value creation. Following the lean paradigm, this value must be defined purely from the patients' perspective, and the entire health system needs to work towards the creation of such value. This paper offers as a practical example a lean approach to HTA, arguing that such an approach would lead to better incentives for innovation in health, as well as more patient-friendly outcomes in the long run.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health