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PhD Studentship - Estimation and Subsequent use of Health State Utilities in Cost-Effectiveness Models

University of Sheffield - School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Part Time
Placed On: 19th August 2021
Closes: 17th November 2021
 

The use of utilities is a key component of conducting economic evaluation to inform resource allocation decision making, specifically related to allocative efficiency based on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). This work will have important implications for decision-making in England and internationally including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), who perform economic evaluations via their influential technology appraisal programme and influence guidelines internationally. This research will build on recently published International Society for PharmacoEconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) good practice guidance on the identification, review, and use of health state utilities in cost-effectiveness models, led by one of the PhD supervisors (Professor Brazier: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2019.01.004).

This project will explore innovative methods for the incorporation of utilities within health economic models to inform decision-making. Several factors may influence estimated and secondary use of utility values for a given disease or condition, including capturing and/or accounting for multi-morbidity, the impact of ageing, and adverse events. Appropriately accounting for these factors is important as the choice of utility values can influence estimates of cost-effectiveness and hence a decision-maker’s choice to invest in a new intervention.

This PhD builds upon the ISPOR taskforce, focusing on unresolved questions. For example, how best to simultaneously incorporate the effects of both ageing and co-morbidities over the modelling time horizon; considerations include:

  • approaches for combining utilities (e.g. additive, multiplicative, or if an alternative approach is required) while avoiding double counting;
  • time-dependent and varying adjustments when estimating utilities and when included in economic models (e.g. within and across cycle periods and model time horizon);
  • potential bias within estimated results due to choice of method;
  • appropriate evidence sources for general population utility values (e.g. anchoring age-specific utility estimates).

This project will include a systematic literature review of existing approaches for adjusting utility values for ageing and co-morbidities, which may suggest the need for the development of new conceptual and practical approaches. The identified methods shall be tested in exemplar case-studies to examine their impact on cost-effectiveness estimates, while also exploring if heterogeneous factors influence estimates (e.g. average age, disease severity, and number of comorbidities). New analyses of existing datasets may be explored, for example to derive reference utility values.

This research will provide important contributions to health economic evaluation through the University including HELSI Flagship. The successful candidate will be supervised by three members of staff who collectively have expertise in the identification and estimation of utilities values, the development of health economic models, extrapolation methods, and the application of utility values in models. The student will additionally be supported by an international thesis advisory panel including: Prof. Jon Karnon, Prof. A Simon Pickard, Andrew Lloyd, and Prof. Jan Van Busschbach.

Entry Requirements:

  • 2:1 (honours) undergraduate degree in a numerate subject such as economics, operational research, mathematics, statistics, pharmacy, industrial engineering, management science, physics, or systems control.
  • Master’s degree at merit or distinction (or a non-UK equivalent) in a relevant subject

Funding: This studentship will be 42 months in duration, and include home fees and stipend at UKRI rate (£15,609 in 2021/22).

Please complete an online application form: www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

Clearly state the title of the studentship, the prospective main supervisor and select ScHARR as the department.

Interested candidates should contact Dr Matt Franklin matt.franklin@sheffield.ac.uk

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