Public health interventions: Types and Implications of public health interventions


Public health interventions are systemic efforts to promote specific behaviors and habits that can improve physical, mental and emotional health. These interventions can also reframe the perspective of unhealthy habits to change the way public perceive those behaviors. On the other hand, a health intervention is an act performed for or on behalf of a person or population whose purpose is to assess, improve, maintain and promote health conditions.

Implications for economic evaluation of public health interventions

The scarcity of resources available to meet the growing demand for healthcare services has increased interest in economic evaluation as a tool to inform resource allocation. The aim of economic evaluation is to compare various alternatives for action, in terms of their costs and effects on health, by using the following techniques:

  • cost minimization analysis
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • cost-utility analysis
  • cost-benefit analysis.

Irrespective of the methodology used, any assessment must include the following:

  • Scope of the problem,
  • Selection of alternatives for comparison,
  • Explication of the perspective of analysis and the time horizon,
  • Measurement and evaluation of costs and health effects,
  • Presentation of results, and sensitivity analysis.

For example, in Spain, evaluation of currently ongoing preventive interventions, and adherence to the existing economic evaluation guidelines by researchers would be desirable.

Types of economic evaluation of public health interventions

There are different types of economic evaluation of public health interventions. The following are types of economic evaluations most preferable for the interventions:

  • Cost-benefit analysis (CBA), to capture broader health and non-health benefits
  •  Cost-consequence analysis (CCA), due to the frequent nature of multiple outcomes in public health interventions
  •  Cost-utility analysis (CUA) is also required by NICE whenever health is the predominant benefit and is the most appropriate type of economic evaluation for public health interventions.

The economic evaluation of the interventions should include a wider spectrum of research methods. That is,  they should include  both qualitative and quantitative research. This helps to understand the contextual and process indicators affecting behavior change .

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