What does “value” really mean?

An interesting article in Stat makes the important point that although there is much talk about “value” in the media and health policy world, the exact definition of “value” depends on your presepective.

But a survey released Wednesday by the University of Utah shows that, in health care, value has no universal meaning — 88 percent of doctors equated value with quality care, while patients and employers provided a more nuanced definition, mixing in measures of cost, customer service, and worker productivity.

The lack of consensus is not merely a philosophical matter. It is a huge stumbling block in the effort to deliver more bang for the buck in American health care, said University of Utah chief medical quality officer Dr. Bob Pendleton…

The diversity of perceptions of value–while clearly complicating treatment and policy decisions–should not be seen as a problem to solve but a reflection of reality.  Different stakeholders have different perceptions of value.  As I stated in a previous Forbes article, the goal of measuring value “…should not be to identify the highest value treatment on average and then restrict access to all other treatments. Rather, value…should be used to promote the optimal matching of patients to existing therapies based on each patient’s unique characteristics [and preferences].”


1 Comment

  1. Very Hayekian, very cool, and very right. Wish there were more thinkers like you in the healthcare space!

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