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Within the NHS (and outside it), managers, commissioners and consumers will consider value for money as a key component in making a decision about whether to pay for speech and language therapy (or any other service for that matter). Yet there are very few research studies in the field of speech and language therapy that have included economic evaluations. The authors remind us that value is not only about cost, but also about outcomes. In this article the authors provide an example of how to use the net-benefit regression framework to estimate a simple linear regression with ordinary least squares. They describe potential measurement tools (QALYs and willingness to pay) that inform this analysis. The incremental net benefit is a calculation of the extra benefit and the extra cost. If the benefits (QALYs) outweigh the cost (value of willingness to pay) this is deemed as cost effective. It may be more beneficial to use a QALY but not sensitive enough for speech and language therapy interventions, therefore a disorder-specific measure may be more useful. Either way, incorporating cost effectiveness analysis in research studies is more likely to influence actual service commissioning, meaning in order to have an actual impact these must be a not negotiable component for future research in this field.

Analyzing a Cost-Effectiveness Dataset: A Speech and Language Example for Clinicians.
Hoch JS, Haynes SC, Hearney SM, Dewa CS.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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