Below are definitions of key terms you may come across as you learn more about the Health Equity Initiative.

Form of economic analysis that compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of different courses of action. In healthcare, this often takes the form of comparison of programs or interventions to a single comparator (Generally the standard of care) in terms of incremental change in health benefits versus incremental changes in cost. CEA contains the basic elements needed to calculate a net monetary benefit of a new intervention versus the standard of care for the target population of interest.

Studies that compare the benefits and harms of two or more treatments, clinical strategies, or other approaches to heath care.

The ability of an intervention (drug, device, treatment, test, pathway) to provide the desired outcomes in the relevant patient population.

Differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. Many health disparities are related to social determinants of health, the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.¹

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Available:

A term that includes both outcomes research studies encompassing real-world evidence of treatment patterns among patients, health outcomes, resource utilization, and economic evaluation of the costs associated with treatment.

Multiple disciplines contribute to this type of research including clinical research, clinical outcomes assessment, epidemiology, health economics, policy research, and health services research.

There are many different definitions of health equity. At its most basic, health equity is when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.¹ This means that everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.²

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Available:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Available:

Involves the systematic assessment of the expected benefits, risks, and costs of a particular health care intervention based on the latest evidence; it provides insight into the intervention’s clinical and economic value that can support decisions about its appropriate and efficient use. One use of health technology assessments is in informing reimbursement and coverage decisions by insurers.

A framework for supporting complex decision-making with multiple and often conflicting criteria that stakeholder groups and/or decision-makers value differently. Through the use of MCDA, priorities and preferences of patients, insured individuals, and experts can be integrated systematically and transparently into the decision-making process.

Allows for comparisons of two or more interventions in a single, coherent analysis of all the relevant randomized controlled trial data available. This type of analysis can produce estimates of the relative effects of all interventions compared with every other in a single analysis using both direct and indirect evidence. This results in the ability to rank all the interventions in a coherent way.

A calculation of the benefit of an intervention (expressed in monetary terms) net of all costs. It represents the value of an intervention in monetary terms when a threshold for the willingness to pay for a unit of benefit (such as a measure of health outcome) from the intervention is known.

One type of comparative effectiveness research that is focused on outcomes that important to patients.

A health outcome directly reported by the patient who experienced it. This is in contracts from clinical or other outcomes reported by physicians, nurses, or other individuals.

Refers to the point of view adopted when deciding which types of costs, health, and economic benefits are to be included in an economic model (e.g., health care sector vs. societal).

The fraction of a perfectly healthy life-year that remains after accounting for the damaging effects of an illness or condition.

A randomized controlled trial is considered the “gold standard” for determining the efficacy of a given treatment. NIH definition includes: one or more human participants are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

Data relating to patient health states and/or delivery of health care routinely collected from a variety of sources. Sources of data may include: electronic health records, claims and billing data, product and disease registries, and data gathered through personal devices and health applications.

The analysis of real-world data in an observational study and/or pragmatic clinical trial.

A measure of a patients’ preferences for different health states, which are often used to estimate changes in quality of life associated with treatments or other clinical events. Utility values are typically measured on a scale from 0 (representing death) to 1 (representing “perfect health”).

Comparison of the relative benefits to the costs of a given technology or service for a specific person or population.