The United States spends more of its national income on medical care than any other country, yet Americans live shorter lives and suffer more poor health than citizens of other high-income countries. The problems are not limited to any one group in the population, or to any one area of medical care. Instead, they reflect a failure to focus attention on identifying high-value care and ensuring that everyone receives it. Cost-effectiveness analyses, which evaluate the health achieved by medical services, and their costs, provide the foundation for improving the allocation of medical resources and making the U.S. a leader in good health.

Working Group Goals

The primary goal of the Identifying High-Value Health Care Working Group is to bring together Penn investigators to build Penn’s capacity to provide high-quality, evidence-based analyses that contribute to the improvement of population health in the United States. Cost-effectiveness analysis is by its nature multidisciplinary, combining clinical medicine, epidemiology, simulation modeling, statistics, economics, and other disciplines, so this working group welcomes investigators from clinical care and related disciplines who share the goal of identifying the best uses of the resources the U.S. devotes to medical care. This working group aims to:

  1. Promote collaborations within Penn and with others outside Penn to conduct analyses that inform evidence-based policy;
  2. Advise Penn investigators about existing and planned cost-effectiveness analyses;
  3. Promote high-quality analyses.

Ways We Can Support You

  • Advise on Proposal and Manuscript Development: Several times a year, and more often as warranted, the group holds work-in-progress meetings to review and discuss members’ ongoing projects or new proposals. We can provide individualized study design support upon request and as time permits. To receive updates on the next meeting, please sign up here.
  • Provide Short Webinars on Key Elements of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Methods: In addition to discussing principles and resources relevant to a project presented during a work-in-progress session, we have sessions that explain the principles of cost-effectiveness analysis in more depth. The sessions listed below were recorded and are available for viewing at your convenience.
  • Provide Links to Key Cost-Effectiveness Readings and Resources
    • The VA’s Health Economics Resource Center (HERC) frequently gives webinars, open to anyone, on cost-effectiveness analysis. Past webinars, along with their slides and recorded videos, are available here
    • The Science of Making Better Decisions About Health: Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit Analysis.” Louise B. Russell. Section IV in Kaplan R., Spittel M., David D. (editors), Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights. AHRQ publication No. 15-0002. Rockville MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health, July 2015.
    • Using Clinical Trial Data to Estimate the Costs of Behavioral Interventions for Potential Adopters: A Guide for Trialists. Russell LB, Norton LA, Pagnotti D, Sevinc C, Anderson S, Finnerty Bigelow D, Iannotte LG, Josephs M, McGilloway R, Barankay I, Putt ME, Reese PP, Asch DA, Goldberg LR, Mehta SJ, Tanna MS, Troxel AB, Volpp KG.Med Decis Making. 2021 Jan;41(1):9-20.
    • We emphasize in our working group sessions that many of the elements that go into a cost-effectiveness analysis can be published as separate papers before the analysis is finished. Here are two examples that use the EQ-5D-3L.
    • The EQ-5D is the most widely used system for representing improvements in quality of life in cost-effectiveness analysis. It is a simple set of 5 questions about mobility, self care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression with 5 possible answers ranging from no problems to severe problems and is free to researchers. The current version is called the EQ-5D-5L. For more information visit the EuroQoL website.

Get Involved

Working group membership is open to all members of the Penn and CHOP communities, and others by permission. Sign up here.

Initiative Leads

Heidi Harvie

Heidi Harvie, MD, MSCE, MBA

Director, Penn Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Pennsylvania Hospital; Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Perelman School of Medicine

Louise Russell

Louise Russell, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine