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Annu Rev Public Health. 2001;22:129-41.

Design issues for conducting cost-effectiveness analyses alongside clinical trials.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


In response to rising demands for timely economic data on new medical technologies, cost-effectiveness studies are increasingly being conducted alongside clinical trials. Because of the historical differences in perspective and methods between cost-effectiveness studies and clinical trials, the design phase of these hybrid trials requires special consideration. Cost-effectiveness studies require more comprehensive evaluations of outcomes than the endpoints typically measured in clinical trials. Often, these comprehensive outcome measures (such as quality of life) prove useful for interpreting the other endpoints measured in the trial, as well as for estimating the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. In this manuscript, we discuss several aspects related to the design of joint clinical/economic trials, including study perspective, hypothesis testing, sample size estimation, and methods for collecting cost and outcome data. We also discuss issues that may limit the external validity of the cost-effectiveness results of these trials. Many potential threats to external validity can be successfully addressed if they are identified and accounted for in the design phase of the study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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