What Is Value in Health and Healthcare? A Systematic Literature Review of Value Assessment Frameworks Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objectives

    This study aimed to investigate how value is defined and measured in existing value assessment frameworks (VAFs) in healthcare.


    We searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination from 2008 to 2019. We also performed backward citation chaining of included studies and previously published systematic reviews. Studies reporting the development of a VAF in healthcare were included. For each included framework, we extracted and compared the context, target users, intended use, methods used to identify value attributes, description of the attributes, and attribute scoring approaches.


    Of the 8151 articles screened, 57 VAFs were included. The value attributes included in 55 VAFs were grouped into 9 categories: health benefits (n = 53, 96%), affordability (n = 45, 82%), societal impact (n = 42, 76%), burden of disease (n = 36, 65%), quality of evidence (n = 32, 58%), cost-effectiveness (n = 31, 56%), ethics and equity (n = 27, 49%), unmet needs (n = 21, 38%), and innovation (n = 15, 27%). The remaining 2 VAFs used broad attributes or user-defined attributes. Literature review was the main approach to identify value attributes in 36 VAFs. Patient or public was engaged through the development of only 11 VAFs. Weighting has been used to score 29 VAFs, of which 19 used the methods of multicriteria decision analysis.


    There are substantial variations in defining and measuring value. A noticeable weakness of existing VAFs is that patient or public engagement was generally very limited or missing in framework development process. Existing VAFs tend to aggregate multiple value attributes into a single index for decision making.

publication date

  • February 2022