“…value is expressed as what we gain relative to what we give up – the benefit relative to the cost.”

Source:  Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  (2008) Learning Healthcare System Concepts v. 2008.   The Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine, Institute of Medicine.  Annual Report.  (p.21.)

There are two different types of meaning. One may be called the principled meaning – such as  “we value diversity”; the other is the economic meaning, the relationship between outcome and cost, in fund terms; in everyday language, an Oxford English Dictionary example “we cannot be seen to lack value for money.“

“One meaning of the word ‘value’ may be described as its moral meaning, namely ‘the status of a thing or the estimate in which it is held according to its real or supposed worth, usefulness, or importance’, the definition from the late Middle English.  This use of the word ‘value’ is common in healthcare, for example the hospital which claims that ‘we value patient choice’, or ‘we value openness and honesty’.”

The second meaning in the Shorter English Dictionary can be described as the economic meaning. One of the four variants that the Shorter English Dictionary gives is ‘that amount of

some commodity, medium of exchange, etc. which is considered to be an equivalent for something else’, and it gives as an example of the meaning of the term used in 1806, ‘we could hardly be said to have value for our money’.

Source:  Gray, J.A.M. (2007) How to Get Better Value Healthcare.  Offox Press. (p.6).

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