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Valuing an incremental change in QALY

Up to Benefits Network meeting
December 13. 2012
David Waller

I'd welcome some advice on an idea I want to develop. I'm thinking about valuing social benefits and I keep coming back to QALYs and £s.

Let's take a hypothetical example:

An IT enabled business change improves efficiency and leads to a patient being treated a week sooner than they would previously.

The treatment improves their quality of life, let's say by 10%, so the incremental change due to the IT is one week x 10% x QALY.

We assume that a QALY is worth £20k. There are various figures from NICE and elsewhere but this is a conservative one.

So in financial terms, the benefit is £20k x 10% / 52 = £38.

What are your views? Is the argument sound, can we link IT to a proportion of a QALY? If we can then what are reasonable numbers to use here? Is £20k too small, can we use an average QALY increase across all treatments and is 10% fair?

If you are, or know a Health Economist, I'd appreciate a professional opinion on this, thanks.


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