What are individual treatment effects?
Most of our health care system is built around treating the “average” patient. But numerous potential factors can lead to the same treatment yielding different outcomes among patients.
These factors may be biological, environmental or relate to socio-economic factors that impact how patients fare.
Patients face choices not only among different drug therapies, but also among different modalities. Each patient weighs medication, surgery, physical therapy or lifestyle changes through a different prism. Individual preferences matter in the quest for achieving good clinical outcomes.
Why does it matter?
Individual treatment effects matter to patients when their health benefits are built to cover care that works for the “average” patient, but not for them.
We can only realize the goals of improving health outcomes and promoting a value-based system if unique patient characteristics are part of the discussion and factored into each stage of the research continuum — from the first step of developing the research questions through the utilization of the research findings in patient care plans. This crucial involvement of patients can create a truly patient-centered health care system.
NPC has long led discussion on individual treatment effects to help stakeholders recognize the benefits –to individual patients and the health system, as a whole – of ensuring individual patient needs are recognized.
These individual differences can impact what treatments are considered high-value by patients. NPC partnered with the National Health Council to examine a concept known as multi-criteria decision-analysis, a systematic approach to value assessment that can incorporate value elements identified by patients as being important to them, such as caregiver burden and out-of-pocket costs.