It’s not the model, it’s the way you use it: exploratory early health economics amid complexity

Comment on “Problems and promises of health technologies: the role of early health economic modelling”

Andrew Partington, Jonathan Karnon

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinion


In a review recently published in this journal, Grutters et al outline the scope and impact of their early health economic modelling of healthcare innovations. Their reflections shed light on ways that health economists can shift-away from traditional reimbursement decision-support, towards a broader role of facilitating the exploration of existing care pathways, and the design of options to implement or discontinue healthcare services. This is a crucial role in organisations that face constant pressure to react and adapt with changes to their existing service configurations, but where there may exist significant disagreement and uncertainty on the extent to which change is warranted. Such dynamics are known to create complex implementation environments, where changes risk being poorly implemented or fail to be sustained. In this commentary, we extend the discussion by Grutters et al on early health economic modelling, to the evaluation of complex interventions and systems. We highlight how early health economic modelling can contribute to a participatory approach for ongoing learning and development within healthcare organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Health Policy and Management
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2020



  • Economic evaluation
  • Health systems
  • Complexity
  • Decision-making
  • Early assessment

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