As health systems shift away from volume-based care, there is a movement to develop new approaches to defining and measuring value. Building tools and methods for measuring value across health care has the potential to improve treatments and services and lower costs. But first, value must go from conceptual to concrete.
The value of a treatment has long been associated with benefits and costs. Yet there are countless other factors that make a treatment meaningful to a patient. Does the treatment improve function? Does it have a manageable dosing regimen? What are its effects over the long term? Quantifying value in health care requires a long-term view that weighs both direct and indirect costs.
The pursuit of these questions is referred to as “value assessment” – a concept this is rapidly becoming a priority across the U.S. health care spectrum. A diverse range of health care stakeholders – from economic policy makers to academic communities — have worked to define health care value, refine approaches to measure value, and refocus policies to enhance the delivery of high-value care. But much work still remains to be done in establishing baselines and best practices in value assessment.
Value assessments cannot be built on scientific evidence alone. To improve healthcare decision-making by and large, they must incorporate patient preferences.
In 2017, the PhRMA Foundation launched its Value Assessment Initiative, a comprehensive effort to progress toward a value-driven health care system. The program is currently supporting four Centers of Excellence in Value Assessment that will identify high- and low-value health services and make recommendations for prioritizing the services that are most valuable to patients. It also is providing new funding opportunities via Challenge Awards and Research Awards to support the work of innovators in this important new arena.