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Cost-Efficient Design of Occupational Exposure Assessment Strategies- A Review
2010 (English)In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, ISSN 0003-4878, E-ISSN 1475-3162Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When designing a strategy for collecting occupational exposure data, both economic and statistical performance criteria should be considered. However, very few studies have addressed the trade-off between the cost of obtaining data and the precision/accuracy of the exposure estimate as a research issue. To highlight the need of providing cost-efficient designs for assessing exposure variables in occupational research, the present review explains and critically evaluates the concepts and analytical tools used in available cost efficiency studies. Nine studies were identified through a systematic search using two algorithms in the databases PubMed and ScienceDirect. Two main approaches could be identified in these studies: ‘comparisons’ of the cost efficiency associated with different measurement designs and ‘optimizations’ of resource allocation on the basis of functions describing cost and statistical efficiency. In either case, the reviewed studies use simplified analytical tools and insufficient economic analyses. More research is needed to understand whether these drawbacks jeopardize the guidance on cost-efficient exposure assessment provided by the studies, as well as to support theoretical results by empirical data from occupational life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2010.
Keyword [en]
Cost; error; information; performance; optimization
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-185394OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-185394DiVA: diva2:571595
Projects
Kostandeffektiv datainsamling om fysisk arbetsbelastning
Funder
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-23 Last updated: 2017-12-07
In thesis
1. Cost-Efficient Designs for Assessing Work-Related Biomechanical Exposures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cost-Efficient Designs for Assessing Work-Related Biomechanical Exposures
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Work-related disorders due to biomechanical exposures have been subject to extensive research. Studies addressing these exposures have, however, paid limited attention to an efficient use of resources in exposure assessment. The present thesis investigates cost-efficient procedures for assessment of work-related biomechanical exposures, i.e. procedures aiming at a proper balance between statistical and economic performance.

Paper I is a systematic review of tools used in literature providing cost-efficient data collection designs. Two main approaches were identified in nine publications, i.e. comparing cost efficiency among alternative data collection designs, and optimizing resource allocation between different stages of data collection, e.g. subjects and samples within subjects. The studies presented, in general, simplified analyses, in particular with respect to economics.

Paper II compared the cost-efficiency of four video-based techniques for assessing upper arm postures. The comparison was based both on a comprehensive model of cost and error and additionally on two simplified models. Labour costs were a dominant factor in the cost efficiency comparison. Measurement bias and costs other than labour cost influenced the rank and economic evaluation of the assessment techniques.

Paper III compared the cost efficiency of different combinations of direct and indirect methods for exposure assessments. Although a combination of methods could significantly reduce the total cost of obtaining a desired level of precision, the total cost was, in the investigated scenario, lowest when only direct measurements were performed. However, when the total number of measurements was fixed, a combination was the most cost efficient choice.

In Paper IV, demand functions were derived for a four-stage measurement strategy with the focus of either minimizing the cost for a required precision, or maximizing the precision for a predetermined budget. The paper presents algorithms for identifying optimal values of measurement inputs at all four stages, adjusted to integers, as necessary for practical application.

In summary, the thesis shows that it is important to address all sources of costs and errors associated with alternative measurement designs in any particular study, and that an optimal determination of samples at different stages can be identified in several cases not previously addressed in the literature.         

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 70 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 848
Keyword
measurement strategy; postural loads; statistical performance; optimization; economic evaluation; resource allocation; input costs; cost function; returns to scale; elasticity
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-185526 (URN)978-91-554-8556-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-01-30, Arbets- och miljömedicin, Ulleråkersvägen 40, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-09 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2013-02-11Bibliographically approved

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