Cost-effectiveness of Evidence Based Medicine
Expenditure on public health services is one of the most contentious political issues in modern society and in the current economic climate efforts are being made to find ways to cut costs without impacting negatively on patient care. In the short term, evidence based medicine is an expensive option; research is extremely costly and the budget for studies into medical conditions is not infinite; it is not possible to fund scientific study into every known illness and therefore a degree of selectivity and caution must be enforced when choosing which illnesses and treatments to explore.
Evidence based medicine is considered by many as a long-term solution to cutting the mounting costs of the National Health Service; this is principally due to the ability to eliminate the use of medications and treatments that are not effective and focus solely on the application of those that have been proved successful. In addition, the use of evidence based care over a prolonged period of time has been proven to improve patient’s conditions in the long-term, reducing the possibility of further complications and the need for further treatment, and therefore, further decreasing costs. Improving efficiency will also enable more patients to be treated and help to shorten the time patients wait to receive treatment. Being certain that a treatment is effective also enables
healthcare organisations to be better equipped to make decisions relating to NHS provision and also allows them to calculate costs more easily.
Evidence based medicine can also be influential in terms of cutting costs by means of identifying proven preventative measures such as effective immunisation, for example. Once an immunisation is proven to be effective, it can be utilised to prevent the outbreak or spread of that illness, eliminating the costs associated with treating that illness later down the line, in addition to preventing people from suffering needlessly. Baby immunisation programmes are an example of this. Evidence based care can also be applied to screening programmes for illnesses such as cancer; routine screening increases the ability to identify cancerous cells early meaning effective treatment can offered immediately. In this instance, the patient is more likely to recover eradicating the costs associated with care they would have needed should the illness not have been discovered until its latter, more aggressive stages.