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Arch Hellen Med, 27(6), November-December 2010, 963-969


The relative value of medical innovations on population health status.
Physicians' views in Greece

1Department of Health Economics, National School of Public Health, Athens
2General Secretariat of Social Security, Ministry of Employment & Social Protection, Athens
3Health Center of Vari, Attica

OBJECTIVE To identify the medical innovations that have contributed to the greatest degree to the improvement of the health status of the Greek population health during the last three decades, according to physicians.

METHOD Semi-qualitative individual interviews with a representative sample of 500 Greek internists and general practitioners, based on a strictly structured questionnaire that included 42 medical innovations (22 pharmaceutical and 20 technological).

RESULTS Of the sample, 429 physicians responded (response rate 78%). According to the respondents, the seven most important pharmaceutical innovations, in selection order, were: angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II antagonists (69%), inhaled steroids and β2-agonists (67.4%), statins (64.6%), proton pump inhibitors and Η2-antagonists (54.3%), newer antibiotics (48.3%), antiviral drugs for hepatitis Β and C (45.0%) and calcium channel blockers (33.6%). The seven most important technological innovations were: magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanning (77.4%), balloon angioplasty with stents (75.3%), coronary artery bypass graft (72.5%), gastrointestinal endoscopy (58.3%), human immunodeficiency virus testing (55.7%), mammography (55.0%) and prostate-specific antigen testing (43.4%).

CONCLUSIONS The epidemiological profile of the population is a strong determinant of the value of technology. Physicians' perspectives of the relative value of medical innovations constitute an important input into the decision-making process for the allocation of healthcare resources.

Key words: Health policy, Health technology, Medical innovations, Population health status.

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