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Table 1 Common types of analysis relevant to simulation education

From: Issues of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness for simulation in health professions education

Analysis Description of measurement of benefits/effects Hypothetical example applied to simulation
Cost minimisation analysis (CMA) A comparison of costs when the effects are considered equal in all respects Measurement of the simulation education method versus an alternative education method produced equivalent learning outcomes within a meaningful threshold; however, the simulation method is less costly.
Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) Benefits/effects are measured in natural units (e.g. students educated) Measurement of the simulation education method resulted in less clinical errors by the learner than the alternative education method.
Cost utility analysis (CUA) Benefits/effects measured in ‘utility’ units—e.g. a measure of satisfaction derived from consumption/attainment of benefit Measurement of the simulation education method resulted in higher levels of patient satisfaction with their care compared to the alternative education method.
Cost benefit analysis (CBA) Benefits monetized The simulation education method was measured to be of higher value (willingness to pay) by the learners when compared to the alternative education method.