Health research: measuring the social, health and economic benefits

Author(s)/Editor(s): Frank C and Nason E
Publisher/Organizer: Canadian Medical Association Journal
Publication date: 3 March 2009
Language: English


“The authors discuss two approaches to measure return on investment in health research. The "payback model," which was recently adopted and modified by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is favoured and may help optimize future evaluations.

“Despite intense interest in defining the social, health and economic impacts of health research investments globally 1–5 and in Canada 6–10 as proof of value for- money, no validated method for measuring return on investments yet exists. Until now, issues of complexity combined with major gaps in methodology have limited the ability to link health research products to outcomes at a relevant level (e.g., to be useful to stakeholders: individual funders, decision-makers, institutions, researchers or clinicians).

In this article, we discuss current approaches to measuring returns on investment, analyze key issues and gaps that need to be bridged to improve returns on investment, and present a new method that may help overcome them.”