Cost-effectiveness Research: How to Implement Study Findings into Clinical Practice

Eric F. Swart, MD; Eric C. Makhni, MD, MBA; and Samir Mehta, MD

As healthcare costs and expenses continue to rise, interest in cost-effective medicine increases. This has led to an expansion in cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) to evaluate the economic impact of various common orthopaedic interventions. CEA, however, is not the same as cost-benefit analysis for treatment. The results from CEA may not always be straightforward, and incorporating these results into clinical practice may be quite challenging.

This article serves as a brief primer on the terms, techniques, and interpretation of CEA, using a recently published article (Prevention and Screening Programs for Anterior Cruciate Ligament [ACL] Injuries in Young Athletes: A Cost-effectiveness Analysis. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2014 May 7) to illustrate salient points.

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