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Posted on April 24th, 2014, by

Health economics may be applied both prospectively together with the prevention program or independently in order to analyze the influence of health promotion and its policies. Thus, independent analysis of the policy influence can be seen in the influence of tax changes on smoking rate among various social groups. According to the statistics, the increase of tax rate on cigarettes greatly influences the number of teenage smokers. Thus, a 23% increase in the price on tobacco leads to a 16% decrease in the number of teenage smokers as well as a 14% decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked by teenagers (Grossman & Chaloupka, 1997). Speaking about the role of healthcare economics in health promotion, it is important to analyze such area as economic evaluation. It is comprised of a number of techniques intended to examine alternative actions in regard to their costs and benefits which help to make a choice in favor of certain action. In general, such techniques may be used in health promotion equally to clinical and other procedures. When an economic evaluation is performed there are a number of issues that have to be taken into account. Among these issues are the perspective of study and the outcome of measures. Most of them can be overcome without any difficulties, while few of them are quite complicated when used in health promotion. These difficulties will be analyzed below. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that healthcare economics may be used to analyze the influence of public policy measures as well. What are the costs? One of the difficulties to overcome in order to widely use economic evaluation in health promotion is the language barrier caused by jargon. Thus, the economic concept of cost is quite specific. In the economic area, resources make a contribution to the production of output. However, as those resources are insufficient, a cost is evaluated whenever a resource is used in any particular way when the benefit is forgone by not having used the resource in an alternative way. The concept “opportunity cost”¯ is used to underline the term of an opportunity forgone. One of the most difficult issues to overcome is the outcome of health promotion measures. As a rule, the outcome is defined by the aim, but it is evident that health promotion programs may have a great number of aims which include broadening information and helping individuals to make better decisions. Some researchers distinguish several different levels of outcome which include health and social outcomes and health promotion outcomes (Nutbeam, 1998). Health promotion can be considered as having the aim of health maximization. Nevertheless, due to the fact that health promotion programs are intended for people who are relatively healthy at the time, major benefits may take other forms and health maximization may be a less distinctive aim. In order to follow other health promotion specialists, economists need to consider community development. Economics is usually viewed from individualistic perspective while a number of health promotion programs are focused on community development. Economists tend to view benefits to a certain community as a total sum of the benefits to individual persons within the community. However, it is not a proper definition to be used in community health promotion programs. Finally, it is important to analyze individual behavior in regard to the contribution of healthcare economics to the sphere of health promotion. An important thing to remember is that there is more to healthcare economics than economic evaluation. Economics is known as a behavioral science that is aimed to analyze individual behavior in a number of ways. Economists analyze individual’s health-promoting behavior by econometric techniques as well as conjoint analysis. The latter can be used both within the framework of economic evaluation and within the framework of individual behavior. At this point this technique might be efficient in health promotion. In conclusion, the research has analyzed the major aspects of the contribution of healthcare economics to health promotion by using the results of a number of previous researches and the statistical data on this matter. It is important to conclude by saying that healthcare economics should not be viewed as a threat. It should rather be used prospectively to analyze the influence of health promotion and its policies. Such prospective analysis consists of using economic evaluation techniques to decide which policy should be applied and how the resources should be distributed taking into the account health promotion. Besides, in order to make health economics more relevant to health promotion and its policies, there should be undertaken much training by both health economists in the sphere of health promotion and health promotion specialists in the sphere of healthcare economics. Finally, it is necessary to conclude by saying that healthcare economics plays a considerable role in health promotion in many ways described above.

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