Purpose of review: In this era of healthcare reform, attention is focused on increasing the quality of care and access to services, while simultaneously reducing the cost. Economic evaluations can play an important role in translating research to evidence-based practice and policy.
Recent findings: Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and its utility for clinical and policy decision making among U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists is reviewed. Three case examples demonstrating the value of this methodology in decision making are considered. A discussion of the methodologic principles of CEA, the advantages, and the limitations of the methodology are presented.
Summary: CEA can play an important role in evidence-based decision making, with value for clinicians and policy makers alike. These studies are of particular interest in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, in which uncertainty from epidemiologic or clinical trials exists, or multiple perspectives need to be considered (maternal, neonatal, and societal). As with all research, it is essential that economic evaluations are conducted according to established methodologic standards. Interpretation and application of results should occur with a clear understanding of both the value and the limitations of economic evaluations.