Towards Transparency in the Selection of Published Health Utility Inputs in Cost-Utility Analyses: The Health Utility Application Tool (HAT)
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BACKGROUND: Evaluating the relevance of published health utilities to the context of a cost-utility analysis (CUA) remains an essential, yet often overlooked, task. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to provide guidance on this process through the development of the Health utility Application Tool (HAT). METHODS: We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with Canadian stakeholders from reimbursement bodies, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry to identify current practices and perspectives of the application of the health utility literature to CUAs. An online survey with international members of the general health economics and outcomes research community was also conducted to gather opinions on key concepts. RESULTS: Based on the themes emerging from the interviews and online questionnaire, the HAT includes questions prompting investigators to consider the following constructs: similarity of the clinical condition in the health utility study and the CUA; similarity of health utility study participant demographics and the demographics of the CUA's target population; similarity of the health state descriptions in the health utility study and the CUA; and the method of assigning utility weights. Considerations of transparency prompted additional items, including: means by which the health utility study was identified; type of respondents; study design; and measure used to collect health utility estimates. CONCLUSION: The HAT is intended to guide the evaluation of the applicability of published health utilities for a CUA, thus promoting transparency and accountability in the selection of model inputs.
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