P Tappenden, S Paisley, E Kaltenthaler


Background: Health technology assessments (HTA) typically require the development of a cost-effectiveness model which necessitates the collection of information, in addition to clinical effectiveness evidence, to populate the model parameters. The reviewing activity associated with model development should be transparent and reproducible but can result in a tension between being both timely and systematic. Little procedural guidance exists in this area. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance, informed by focus groups on what might constitute a systematic and transparent approach to reviewing information to populate model parameters where little procedural guidance exists.
Methods: A series of focus groups were held with HTA experts in the UK including systematic reviewers, information specialists and health economic modellers in order to explore these issues. Framework analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data elicited during the focus groups.
Results: Suggestions included the use of rapid reviewing methods and the need to consider the trade-off between relevance and quality. The need for transparency in the reporting of review methods was emphasised. It was suggested that additional attention should be given to the reporting of parameters deemed to be more important to the model or where the decision regarding the choice of evidence was not clear cut.