Conducting Value for Money Analyses for Non-randomised Interventional Studies Including Service Evaluations: An Educational Review with Recommendations
Matthew Franklin (),
James Lomas and
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Matthew Franklin: University of Sheffield
James Lomas: University of York
Gerry Richardson: University of York
PharmacoEconomics, 2020, vol. 38, issue 7, No 2, 665-681
Abstract This article provides an educational review covering the consideration of conducting ‘value for money’ analyses as part of non-randomised study designs including service evaluations. These evaluations represent a vehicle for producing evidence such as value for money of a care intervention or service delivery model. Decision makers including charities and local and national governing bodies often rely on evidence from non-randomised data and service evaluations to inform their resource allocation decision-making. However, as randomised data obtained from randomised controlled trials are considered the ‘gold standard’ for assessing causation, the use of this alternative vehicle for producing an evidence base requires careful consideration. We refer to value for money analyses, but reflect on methods associated with economic evaluations as a form of analysis used to inform resource allocation decision-making alongside a finite budget. Not all forms of value for money analysis are considered a full economic evaluation with implications for the information provided to decision makers. The type of value for money analysis to be conducted requires considerations such as the outcome(s) of interest, study design, statistical methods to control for confounding and bias, and how to quantify and describe uncertainty and opportunity costs to decision makers in any resulting value for money estimates. Service evaluations as vehicles for producing evidence present different challenges to analysts than what is commonly associated with research, randomised controlled trials and health technology appraisals, requiring specific study design and analytic considerations. This educational review describes and discusses these considerations, as overlooking them could affect the information provided to decision makers who may make an ‘ill-informed’ decision based on ‘poor’ or ‘inaccurate’ information with long-term implications. We make direct comparisons between randomised controlled trials relative to non-randomised data as vehicles for assessing causation; given ‘gold standard’ randomised controlled trials have limitations. Although we use UK-based decision makers as examples, we reflect on the needs of decision makers internationally for evidence-based decision-making specific to resource allocation. We make recommendations based on the experiences of the authors in the UK, reflecting on the wide variety of methods available, used as documented in the empirical literature. These methods may not have been fully considered relevant to non-randomised study designs and/or service evaluations, but could improve and aid the analysis conducted to inform the relevant value for money decision problem.
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