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.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Methods to identify further research

EUNetHTA have opened a public consultation on how to decide on the appropriate study design for primary research arising from HTA.  The introduction is promising……

The phrase “more research is needed” is the bane of the research commissioner’s life. Following on from a piece of evidence synthesis it is so frustrating to be told that more research is needed, but not to be told exactly what  that research is. This paper, along with its partner - How best to formulate a research question - strives to guide the systematic reviewer of a health technology in the task of constructing recommendations for Additional Evidence Generation (AEG), and focuses on the role of the reviewer in specifying the design of subsequent primary research.

Within it, the review of AEG guidance in EU countries is also useful.  However, the conclusions are less than useful…..

1. Firstly, a systematic reviewer should identify important clinical uncertainties, and set them out using the approach detailed in the companion paper to this on formulating research questions.

2. They should then, should he or she feel able, comment on possible research designs to address these uncertainties, if:
a. The required design is dictated by the existing evidence base.
b. There is a substantial risk that if a design is not specified a less than ideal design is likely to be adopted (e.g. because there is a party with a vested interest).
c. One of the reasons discussed in section 6.2.1 can be applied.

3. Else, a study design should not be specified.

The consultation is open until May 15th.