Advancing Access to Better Patient Care

Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR): Important Questions Answered.

health economics and outcomes research

Pricing and reimbursement, resource utilization, and value-based health outcomes have emerged as the new keywords in the healthcare sector. Why? This is because all key healthcare service providers across the globe are striving hard to provide the best healthcare at affordable costs. The decision making is not easy for these players owing to several challenges involved such as availability of multiple treatment options, their costs, benefits, increasing drug prices, and so on. This is where Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) can make a difference. It helps all key healthcare decision-makers or stakeholders such as governments, clinicians, health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and technology assessment agencies to make the right decisions.

What is Health Economics and Why is it Important?

Health economics or Pharmacoeconomics is a branch of economics that focuses on various issues relating to the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire healthcare system. The health economics implements various popular concepts of microeconomics such as demand and cost theory to understand various healthcare problems and their underlying issues. The key goal of health economics is to gain a better understanding of healthcare problems, which will help key decision-makers to design corrective health policies.

The foundation of this discipline was laid through three seminal articles. The first in the series was Selma Mushkin’s 1962 article, which was titled “Health as an Investment”. The article focused on the relationship between human capital formation and health. Kenneth Arrow’s 1963 article “Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care” and Micheal Grossman’s 1972 article on “ “On the Concept Of Health Capital And The Demand For Health” are widely credited for laying the foundation of health economics.

What is Outcomes Research?

Outcomes research is a discipline that focuses on actual outcomes of interventions and healthcare practices on people. These outcomes are broadly classified into three types – economic, clinical and humanistic outcomes.

  • Clinical Outcomes: These results focus on a disease and treatment outcome.
  • Economic Outcomes: Here the focus is on costs involved in the clinical outcomes.
  • Humanistic Outcomes: They are also derived from clinical outcomes such as health-related quality of life, caregiver burden, and preferences. 

What are the Popular Research Themes in Outcomes Research?

The following are a few examples of research themes in outcomes research:

  • Evaluation of services and medical procedures involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of clinical conditions.
  • Examination of various factors influencing practice patterns and their outcomes. These may take into account socioeconomic, clinical, and demographic characteristics, patient and provider preferences and risk behavior, cost and financing issues, locations, and so on.
  • Applications of various health outcomes to improve the resource use, structure, and performance of healthcare systems.
  • Studying claims data to analyze patient outcomes by integrating various types of documents such as physician, hospital, and insurance records.

Different Study Designs Used by Health Economics and Outcomes Research Service Providers

A Health Economics and Outcomes Research service provider may gather evidence from:

  • Real-World Evidence
  • Retrospective and Prospective Cohort Studies
  • Clinical Outcomes Assessments
  • Cohort Studies
  • Instrument Design
  • Administrative Databases
  • Consensus Conference
  • Clinical Studies – Phase I & II Trials
  • Case-Control Study
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO)
  • Decision Analysis
  • Cross-Section Surveys – caregivers, patients, and physician experts
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Observational Studies – prospective and retrospective

Why HEOR is Gaining Importance?

Over the years, HEOR has been utilized to meet a list of healthcare goals such as:

  • Gaining an insight into a journey undertaken by the patient from disease diagnosis to treatment and outcomes
  • Analyzing reasons for failure in diagnosis or treatment of a disease
  • Identifying the unfulfilled needs of patients based on the mode of treatment administered
  • Evaluation of various treatment patterns and associated costs
  • Evaluation of technologies in healthcare, with a focus on their cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit analysis, and cost-utility
  • Measuring the disease burden on patients and caregivers
  • Developing and evaluating various cost management strategies adopted by competitors
  • Identifying the changing market trends due to the introduction of new medical products and associated costs
  • Accelerating the time-to-market capabilities of innovative healthcare products and ensuring their cost-effectiveness and reimbursement after the launch

The pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic industries acknowledge the importance of HEOR. Owing to its increasing influence and importance, it has become more important to partner with the right HEOR services company to meet their goals for commercial development.

Black Rock Health has decades of expertise and has been serving various healthcare markets including digital health, medical devices, diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies.

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