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Cost-effectiveness efficiency frontier
The cost and effectiveness results of each treatment alternative from an economic evaluation can be graphed on a figure known as the cost-effectiveness plane. The cost-effectiveness plane plots cost on the vertical axis (i.e., positive infinity at the top and negative infinity and the bottom) and effects such as life-years on the horizontal axis (i.e., negative infinity at the far left and positive infinity at the far right). One treatment alternative such as usual care is plotted at the origin (i.e., 0, 0), and all other treatment alternatives are plotted relative to the treatment at the origin. Treatment alternatives are considered dominated if they have both higher costs and lower effectiveness relative to any other. Line segments can be drawn connecting the nondominated treatment alternatives and the combination of line segments that join these nondominated treatment alternatives is referred to as the cost-effectiveness efficiency frontier. Constructed in this way, any treatment alternative that lies above the cost-effectiveness efficiency frontier is considered to be inefficient (dominated) by a treatment alternative or combination of alternatives on the efficiency frontier.
When the cost and effectiveness results of an economic evaluation are graphed on a cost-effectiveness plane along with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios, the resultant line segments are referred to as the efficiency frontier. Any strategy that has a base-case cost-effectiveness that is above the efficiency frontier would be considered dominated.