The year was 2012. Despite strong words from health professionals and stringent measures from governments around the world, tobacco-related illnesses were still claiming millions of lives and costing taxpayers billions.
Policymakers started to wonder what the alternative strategy was. Whilst the number of smokers was falling, they weren’t falling fast enough – 20 per cent of Brits were still puffing away – with the resulting poor health creating a significant burden for health services. Was there a new strategy that would both get more people to quit, and be more cost-effective?
To help the policymakers develop their new strategies, researchers from Brunel University London’s Health Economics Research Group began to develop tools that would allow the policymakers to answer three key questions: What new areas should we invest in? What existing areas should we invest more in? And what areas do we disinvest from?
The Brunel team’s new tools allowed policy makers to gain a better understanding of what measures would give them a better Return on Investment (ROI):
The researchers worked with local, regional and national policymakers from around Europe to help them understand where they should be spending their money, and what each possible investment might recoup in the long term in the form of lower healthcare costs, increased productivity and reduced demand for social care.
The tools were adaptable and considered local conditions, such as the general make-up of the population and how many of them smoke or used to smoke, and what intervention measures were available to policymakers, how effective each one was, and how much each one cost.
The policymakers were able to develop a variety of successful measures thanks to the work of Brunel’s health economists, and there are now lives being saved because those that decide where the money gets spent have the tools to show them what works.
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Related Research Group(s)
Health Economics (HERG) - Our strategic focus is on economic evaluation and systematic reviews of a broad range of clinical and health service technologies by providing high-quality, applied, policy-relevant research, as well as developing and refining methods to increase the rigour and relevance of such studies.
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Project last modified 11/05/2022