HEDS is part of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield. We undertake research, teaching, training and consultancy on all aspects of health related decision science, with a particular emphasis on health economics, HTA and evidence synthesis.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Hello to Mali

We are always excited at HEDS HQ when someone from a new country visits our blog for the first time. This month we have had our inaugural visit from Mali in West Africa. Mali is a landlocked country and is the eighth largest country on the African continent. 

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali
"Sundiata, Mali’s Lion King (or Lion Prince) was the founder and first ruler of the Mali Empire from which the country today takes its name. In his reign from 1235 to 1260 the empire stretched all the way to the western coast of Africa."

Thursday, 14 December 2017

An analysis of HTA and reimbursement procedures in EUnetHTA partner countries

A very handy reference document.  A brief summary of findings, taken from the website, is below:
“Data were received from 59 agencies in 31 EUnetHTA partner countries. Data included national procedures as well as regional procedures in Spain and Italy. Twenty-one agencies in 9 countries took part in case studies. 29 out of 31 of countries (94%) reported having procedures for the assessment of pharmaceuticals and 22 out of 31 countries (71%) reported having procedures for the assessment of non-pharmaceutical health technologies. A smaller number of assessments are carried out of non-pharmaceutical health technologies than of pharmaceuticals, 10 countries (45%) complete less than 30 assessments per year for non-pharmaceutical health technologies compared to 4 countries (14%) for pharmaceuticals. For pharmaceuticals, a smaller number of countries assess inpatient than outpatient technologies (22 (76%) and 29 (100%) countries, respectively). However, for non-pharmaceutical health technology assessment most countries (20 out of 22 (91%)) do not differentiate between settings.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Latest Publications from HEDS in November

Our regular monthly trawl for new publications from HEDS in collaboration with colleagues in ScHARR and further afield never fails to discover fresh research. Many of these are currently in press and you can find much of our work in its open access form via our institutional repository. Tuck in here

Image of Value in Health Journal
Alshreef, A. and Wailoo, A. J. (2017) ‘Haemorrhoidal Artery Ligation Procedure For The Treatment of Symptomatic Grade II–III Heamorrhoids: A Trial-Based And Long-Term Model-Based Economic Evaluation’, In Value in Health, Elsevier.

van Baal, P., Morton, A., Brouwer, W., Meltzer, D. and Davis, S. (2017) ‘Should cost effectiveness analyses for NICE always consider future unrelated medical costs?’, BMJ, England, vol. 359, no. j5096 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29127081.

Burns, J., Polus, S., Brereton, L., Chilcott, J., Ward, S. E., Pfadenhauer, L. M. and Rehfuess, E. A. (n.d.) ‘Looking beyond the forest: using harvest plots, gap analysis and expert consultations to assess effectiveness, engage stakeholders and inform policy’, Research Synthesis Methods.

Carlton, J., Griffiths, H. and Mazzone, P. (n.d.) ‘BIOS Screening Audit report 2015-2016’, [Online]. Available at: https://sheffield.figshare.com/articles/BIOS_Screening_Audit_report_2015-2016/5532910.

Comans, T. A., Nguyen, K. H., Mulhern, B., Corlis, M., Li, L., Welch, A., Kurrle, S., Rowen, D. L., Moyle, W., Kularatna, S. and Ratcliffe, J. (n.d.) ‘Developing a dementia-specific preference-based quality of life measure (AD-5D) in Australia: Valuation study protocol’, BMJ Open, BMJ Journals.

Image of BMC Central logo
© BMC Central
Cooper, C., Booth, A., Britten, N. and Garside, R. (2017) ‘A comparison of results of empirical studies of supplementary search techniques and recommendations in review methodology handbooks: a methodological review.’, Systematic Reviews, BioMed Central, vol. 6, no. 1 [Online]. Available at: https://systematicreviewsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13643-017-0625-1.

Fotheringham, J., Barnes, T., Dunn, L., Lee, S., Ariss, S., Young, T., Walters, S. J., Laboi, P., Henwood, A., Gair, R. and Wilkie, M. (2017) ‘Rationale and design for SHAREHD: a quality improvement collaborative to scale up Shared Haemodialysis Care for patients on centre based haemodialysis.’, BMC Nephrology, England, vol. 18, no. 1, p. 335 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29178891.

Hernandez, M. and pudney, S. (n.d.) ‘EQ5DMAP: a command for mapping between EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L’, The Stata journal, StataCorp.

Latimer, N. R., White, I. R., Abrams, K. R. and Sieburt, U. (2017) Causal inference for long-term survival in randomised trials with treatment switching: Should re-censoring be applied when estimating counterfactual survival times?, vol. 17.09.

Meier, P., Brennan, A., Angus, C. and Holmes, J. (2017) ‘Minimum unit pricing for alcohol clears final legal hurdle in Scotland.’, BMJ, England, vol. 359, no. j5372 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29162561.

Image of Emergency Medical Journal front cover
© BMJ Journals
Pollard, D., Goodacre, S., Stevenson, M. and Fuller, G. (2017) ‘10 Decision analysis modelling of diagnostic strategies for suspected pulmonary embolism in pregnancy: the DiPEP economic evaluation.’, In Emergency Medicine Journal, England, vol. 34, no. 12, pp. A867–A868 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29170307.

Wailoo, A., Hock, E. S., Stevenson, M., Martyn-St James, M., Rawdin, A., Simpson, E., Wong, R., Dracup, N., Scott, D. L. and Young, A. (2017) ‘The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treat-to-target strategies in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and cost-effectiveness analysis.’, Health Technology Assessment, England, vol. 21, no. 71, pp. 1–258 [Online]. Available at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29206093.

Monday, 11 December 2017

NICE Launches PRIMA to health-check economic models

From the NICE Website

“NICE has launched Preliminary Independent Model Advice (PRIMA), a detailed peer review service to help developers of drugs, medical devices and diagnostics, and public health interventions ensure the quality of their model structure, coding, usability and transparency.

PRIMA offers companies independent expert advice on the robustness of economic models, helping to identify errors and flaws before they are used for healthcare decision-making. It also provides advice on how companies can improve their models and delivers a comprehensive report, a completed PRIMA checklist and an executable copy of the model with proposed amendments or corrections. Models can be submitted in Excel, WinBugs, R, and TreeAge.

Leeza Osipenko, head of NICE Scientific Advice said: “PRIMA will enable healthcare companies to health-check their economic models before they submit them as part of the formal evaluation process. This can help them prepare for a dialogue with health technology assessment organisations and payers, better demonstrate the value of their products and, potentially, speed up patient access. The service is open not only to models developed for future NICE evaluations but also to those developed in social care, public health, or in international settings.”

NICE Scientific Advice provides a fee-based consultancy service to developers of pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics. It works with companies in the early stages of product development and its aim is to encourage companies to consider the relative clinical and cost effectiveness of their products which can then inform the overall product development strategy.”

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Vacancy: Research Associate in Public Health Economic Modelling

Image of vacancy sign
Image CC BY 2.0 Lauren Mitchell
The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield is seeking to appoint a Research Associate with experience in quantitative research methods to contribute to the health economic modelling of tobacco and alcohol tax in the UK. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to internationally important public health economic research at a world-leading university. The project, funded by the National Institute of Health Research's Public Health Research Programme is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield and Bath.
Job Title: Research Associate in Public Health Economic Modelling
Salary: Grade 7, £30,688 - £32,548 per annum
Closing Date: 5 January 2018
This post is full-time and fixed-term for 3 years from 1 March 2018.
The three-year post will work within the Public Health Section (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/index) in the Sheffield Alcohol research group (SARG) (https://www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/research/alpol) as part of a multidisciplinary public health economics research programme that has extended Sheffield’s alcohol research to tobacco as a member of an 11 University collaboration called the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS).
For informal queries about this job and the recruiting department, contact: Professor Alan Brennan on a.brennan@sheffield.ac.uk or + 44 (0)114 222 0684, or Dr Duncan Gillespie on duncan.gillespie@sheffield.ac.uk or +44 (0)114 222 4310
For queries about the application process, contact: Jenny Doole at j.doole@sheffield.ac.uk.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Short Course: Causal Inference in Observational Studies and Clinical Trials Affected by Treatment Switching

Dr Nick Latimer is co-delivering a 4-Day Certificate Course “Causal Inference in Observational Studies and Clinical Trials Affected by Treatment Switching: A Practical Hands-on Workshop”, 16-19 April 2018 to be held in Hall in Tirol, Austria. The workshop combines lectures, discussions, exercises, and hands-on computer lab sessions in the key elements and methods of Causal Inference and treatment switching. The early-bird registration deadline is 15th February 2018. Discounts apply for group bookings, students, or if you have previously participated in a Continuing Education Program Course on HTADS at UMIT.

Course Directors:
Nicholas Latimer, BSc, MSc, PhD Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics, Health Economics and Decision Science, University of Sheffield, UK
Uwe Siebert, MD, MPH, MSc, ScD Professor of Public Health, UMIT

Ian White, MA, MSc, PhD MRC Professor of Statistical Methods for Medicine, Clinical Trials Unit, University College London, UK
Image of institute in Tirol, Austria
Tirol, Austria
Course fee 
Academic/public Euro 1,250 - Early booking fee before 15 February 2018 Euro 980

Commercial Euro 1,950 - Early booking fee before 15 February 2018 Euro 1,580

Discounts Group Registrations – Save 15% Register with three or more colleagues and save!

Students/Alumni – Save 20%If you have previously participated in a Continuing Education Program Course on HTADS, you are eligible for a discount on selected future programs.

Contact & Course Location
Continuing Education Program on HTA & Decision Sciences (HTADS) 
Institute of Public Health
Medical Decision Making and HTAUMIT 
University for Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology 
1, 6060 Hall i.T

Phone: +43 (0)50 8648 3901
Fax: +43 (0)50 8648 67 3901
Email: htads@umit.atwww.umit.at/htads 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Reform strategies for the NHS: effective or cosmetic cladding? - Dr Jennifer Dixon CBE Guest Pemberton Lecture recording.

Dr Jennifer Dixon CBE delivered the latest ScHARR Pemberton Lecture with the title: 
Reform strategies for the NHS: effective or cosmetic cladding. The recording of the lecture can be viewed here.

The NHS is the largest, highest profile, most complex and risky industry in Europe, in England alone spending £124bn this year, employing over 1m staff and providing care for the majority of the population every year. As is the case across OECD countries, health care costs outstrip GDP growth, and so the search for effective reform is constant. The suite of reforms has changed over the years – how and what has made a difference? How does the current strategy stack up, and are there gaps if the NHS is to make progress faster? How can we tell? And if there were a moratorium on all national policy for 3 years, would patients notice any difference to care? In this lecture, Jennifer draws on her experience from academe, medicine, policy analysis, and the wide portfolio of activities by the Health Foundation to prompt discussion on how progress in the NHS might be optimised. Dr Jennifer Dixon is Chief Executive of the Health Foundation.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

We ask again…are EUNetHTA Rapid Assessments fit for purpose?

In November, we questioned whether EUNetHTA’s Rapid Assessments gave sufficient emphasis to the analysis of ethical, legal and patient perspectives.  We highlighted a recent assessment of Regorafenib in which Ethics were covered by two words “not applicable” and Patient Involvement consisted of three sentences.

Well, they since have improved the quality of their Patient Involvement work in the recent assessment of Midostaurin with standard chemotherapy in FLT3-positive acute myeloid leukemia.  The full Chapter – now, four sentences, is shown below:

“After consultation with patient organisations, a Romanian patient with AML was identified. An open interview, based on the HTAi questionnaire template, was conducted with this patient. The experiences of the patient informed to some extend the outcomes taken into consideration for this joint assessment. The process for patient involvement in joint assessment REA is still under development.”

Image: What ? by wonderferret

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cochrane Collaboration Issue 11, 2017…

….is almost complete.  The website lists reviews and protocols.  The notable reviews are……
  • Genomics‐based non‐invasive prenatal testing for detection of fetal chromosomal aneuploidy in pregnant women
  • Tests for detecting strabismus in children aged 1 to 6 years in the community
  • Surgical interventions for vertical strabismus in superior oblique palsy
  • Alemtuzumab versus interferon beta 1a for relapsing‐remitting multiple sclerosis
  • Insulin for the treatment of women with gestational diabetes
  • Factors that influence the provision of intrapartum and postnatal care by skilled birth attendants in low‐ and middle‐income countries: a qualitative evidence synthesis
Notable protocols are……
  • Sequencing of anthracyclines and taxanes in neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy for early breast cancer
  • Diabetes self‐management education and support delivered by mobile health (m‐health) interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus
Image: C by duncan c

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New Course - Expert Knowledge Elicitation, Sheffield, UK, 8-10 January 2018

Image of Dr Kate Ren
Dr Kate Ren
HEDS Dr Kate Ren is collaborating with colleagues from The School of Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Sheffield to run the Expert Knowledge Elicitation course. The course takes place on 8th-10th January 2018 and is facilitated by Professor Anthony O’Hagan, Professor Jeremy Oakley, Dr John Paul Gosling, Dr Andy Hart and Dr Kate Ren.

Background Decision analytic models such as economic models submitted to NICE and similar reimbursement authorities around the world often incorporate evidence in the form of expert opinion. In particular, when suitable data are lacking, analysts may be dependent on expert opinion to obtain appropriate values for model inputs/parameters. To quantify expert uncertainty about such quantities, a process of elicitation can be used to obtain suitable probability distributions following a process of elicitation. This practical course aims to provide participants with the skills required to elicit experts’ probability distributions about unknown quantities of interest. The course is based around SHELF: a behavioural aggregation method for eliciting distributions from multiple experts.

Who will benefit from the course?

The course is suitable for health economists, statisticians, systematic reviewers and decision-makers interested in the elicitation of experts' probability distributions about unknown quantities of interest to populate their models. The course is also suitable for researchers in other disciplines who wish to learn about expert elicitation.  No previous knowledge of elicitation is assumed.

Course structure

The first two days will comprise a comprehensive short course, Elicitation with SHELF. The course will cover the principles of expert elicitation and the SHELF method, together with practical considerations in planning and running a SHELF elicitation workshop.

Participants may choose to attend the first two days only. The key role in the SHELF method is that of the facilitator. The third day, Advanced Facilitation, will be an intensive, small group, hands-on session for participants who wish to be trained to act as facilitators. Each trainee will gain practical experience of facilitating a SHELF elicitation workshop, using carefully designed and realistic scenarios. Trainees will also gain experience in another important role, that of recorder. This session is open to a maximum of four trainees.


Two-day elicitation with SHELF £500
Advanced facilitation day £1300

Course fees include lunch and refreshments. Participants will need to arrange their own accommodation.

For further details and registration, please go to