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Editorial |

Visualizing Cost-effectiveness Analysis

David H. Mark, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2002;287(18):2428-2429. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2428.
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This issue of THE JOURNAL includes 2 cost-effectiveness analyses that compare cervical screening strategies.1,2 To many readers, these types of studies are both confusing and complex. In addition, because the results are based on mathematically modeled outcomes rather than "real" outcome data, some may not really trust the results. However, THE JOURNAL publishes these types of studies when they are of high quality according to the standards of the discipline and when they concern important health care questions that are difficult to address using other methods. In the case of cervical cancer screening, it is unlikely that clinical trials will be performed that could adequately compare all the possible variations of screening and treatment and follow-up cohorts of patients over their lifetimes to assess mortality and quality-of-life outcomes.

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Figure. Cost and Effectiveness of Alternative Strategies
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Points A through I represent the costs and life-years gained of 9 hypothetical alternative for strategies for screening or treatment of a disease.

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