Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: What It Really Means for Transfusion Medicine Decision Making

Brian Custer, Jeffrey S Hoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Some have suggested that "blood is different," and the role for cost-effectiveness is thus circumscribed. In this article, the authors start by reviewing key concepts in health economics and economic analysis methods. Examples are drawn from published blood safety studies. After explaining the underlying reasoning behind cost-effectiveness analysis, the authors point out how economic thinking is evident in some aspects of transfusion medicine. Some cost-effectiveness study results for blood safety are discussed to provide context, followed by consideration of prominent decisions that have been made in transfusion medicine field. In the last section, the authors conjecture as to why in some cases cost-effectiveness analysis appears to have greater impact than in others, noting the terrible price that is paid in mortality and morbidity when cost-effectiveness analysis is ignored. In this context, the implications of opportunity cost are discussed, and it is noted that opportunity cost should not be viewed as benefits forgone by concentrating on one aspect of blood safety and instead should be viewed as our societal willingness to misallocate resources to achieve less health for the same cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalTransfusion Medicine Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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