Health economics as a tool for decision-making in mental health care

Martin Knapp (2017)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

Mental Health Economics 179-190

Available online: 27 August 2017

Economic analysis aims to help decision makers make better decisions. It is primarily concerned with efficiency: using available resources to maximize achievements in terms of better health and well-being. Cost-effectiveness, cost utility, and cost-benefit analyses are the main tools used by economists for this purpose. Equity is another criterion increasingly recognized as important; equity ensures that access to services and payments for them are distributed fairly across different population groups, with the hope that treatment outcomes might also be more fairly experienced. In this chapter I discuss what decision makers want from economic evaluation and consider some of the uses to which such empirical evidence could be put in the mental health field. These uses – by decision-makers and by others – include lobbying, marketing, comparison, commissioning, health technology appraisal and guidance, policy development, and personalization and empowerment. Each use is illustrated with brief examples.