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Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology
Policy Analysis Unit
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Policy Analysis Unit

Contact Information
Policy Analysis Unit
Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

313 N. Figueroa St., Room 127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7785
Fax: (213) 250-2594
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What is economic evaluation?

Economic evaluation is an umbrella term that refers to studies assessing the health and economic impact of public health policies, programs, and activities. Economic Evaluation is not a field by itself. Rather, it is a generic term we use to refer to studies from various other fields that can be used to assess the value of public health. Some examples of fields and studies relevant to economic evaluation are:
  • Descriptive Epidemiology
    • Prevalence  
    • Burden of disease
    • Analysis of exposure to risk factors
  • Outcomes Research
    • Intervention Effectiveness
    • Efficiency and quality improvement
  • Economic Evaluation
    • Cost of illness
    • Cost analysis
    • Cost-effectiveness analysis
    • Cost-Benefit analysis
  • Systems Science
    • Decision modeling
    • Health outcomes simulation  

What questions can economic evaluations answer?

These studies can improve our understanding of the value of public health by contrasting our investments in these programs with their health and economic benefits. Moreover, it seeks to provide answers to questions decision makers ask (or should ask). These are some examples of these questions and the type of analysis that can be used to answer them:

  • How important is this health problem? (Burden-of-disease or cost-of-illness studies)
  • Does an intervention work? (Effectiveness studies)
  • How do the benefits of the intervention compare to its costs? (Cost-effectiveness analysis or cost-benefit analysis)
  • What would be the consequences of lowering or increasing our investments in this intervention or program?
These and other similar questions are becoming increasingly common in Public Health and the Policy Analysis Unitís role is to help answer them.

Where can I learn more?

Try our Short Introduction to Economic Evaluation and Health Impact Assessment pages first . We also have a list of External Resources

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