Using economic evidence to support decision making: A case study of assertive community treatment within the UK National Service Framework for Mental Health

John Nixon, Kate Phipps, Julie Glanville, Miranda Mugford, Michael Drummond

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This study illustrates a process of accessing and utilising clinical and economic evidence in health care decision making. The scenario examined was that of a UK Health Authority evaluating evidence prior to the introduction of assertive community treatment (ACT), as part of guidance from the UK National Service Framework for Mental Health. The consistency between clinical and cost evidence from a number of sources (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Database of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE), HTA database, NHS Economic Evaluation database (NHS EED)) was also addressed, as was the usefulness of structured abstracts on NHS EED. The findings showed that within specified caveats ACT tends to be more effective and also less costly than alternative interventions; there is general agreement between sources principally reporting effectiveness and economic evaluations; and NHS EED abstracts are useful in the decision making process where information gaps exist. In terms of health care policy in the health authority examined, two ACT teams were subsequently introduced in the city of Leicester. Although systematic reviews and appraisals of evidence are arguably the gold standard in health care decision making, the study illustrates how the use of databases of structured abstracts can assist in making optimal choices in real life decision making scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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