With billions spent on healthcare nationally each year, and with ongoing development of new health technologies and treatments, informed decision-making in healthcare has never been more important.

Griffith University’s Centre for Applied Health Economics (CAHE) is among the world’s leading research organisations providing healthcare professionals and decision makers with advice on the safety, efficacy and efficiency of treatments and services.

Professor Paul Scuffham, Director, Menzies Health Institute Queensland

CAHE delivers essential research, informing the allocation of $2.33 billion in federal government expenditure between 2011 and 2016.

Health budget savings estimated at $7.4 billion were also achieved over this period, through CAHE research that identified technologies that were not cost-effective. The Centre’s evaluation of technologies, pharmaceuticals, medical services and diagnostic tests has a direct impact on whether these are funded under Medicare, and to what extent.

CAHE’s research programs have delved into pregnancy, and conditions as varied as foot and ankle problems, cardiac problems, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, mental health, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, ocular disease and several types of cancer.

In 2009, a review of antirheumatic drugs used to treat arthritis was the first ever review of a class of medicines for the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Advisory Committee. A major breakthrough for the Department of Health, it offered new evidence of relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of various government-subsidised medicines.

A CAHE review of statins, widely used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, found that a price difference between a new class of “high-potency” statins and older statins at the time was unwarranted. The savings to the government were estimated at $400 million a year between 2012 and 2016.

In 2015, the CAHE team developed an economic model for the Medical Services Advisory Committee to assess the relative value of cascade genetic testing for breast and ovarian mutations in family members. The research was published in the leading journal Genetics in Medicine and is recognised as the Australian exemplar for economic analysis of this testing.

The My Health Record, a central register of a patient’s health information, was found to be highly beneficial to clinical decision-making. The 2016 CAHE evaluation recommended an opt-out approach that has since been adopted by the government.

CAHE is a key centre within the Menzies Health Institute Queensland.