Table 1

 Application of standard health economic evaluation methods to evaluate quality improvement programmes

MethodPurposeData requirements
Cost–effectiveness analysisComparison of costs and health effects of a quality improvement programme versus usual care• Utilisation data from other healthcare providers • Long-term health benefits to patients
Cost–minimisation analysisComparison of the costs of two programmes with identical health benefits• Same as cost–effectiveness analysis
Cost–benefit analysisComparison of programme costs and benefits,all expressed in dollars• Health benefits of programme • Costs of programme
Time and motion studiesReal time measurement of changes in resource utilisation as a result of a quality improvement programme• Measurement of minute to minute activities of personnel affected by quality improvement changes