Objectives: Health-care technology reviews now increasingly include outcome costs as well as clinical effects. This study reports the findings and implications of a survey to explore the usefulness of the National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) within this process.
Methods: Postal survey of lead authors of Technology Assessment Reviews (TARs) commissioned by the United Kingdom's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The questionnaire investigated the usefulness of NHS EED in terms of (a) search strategy, (b) data extraction, (c) quality assessment, and (d) determining requirements for new modeling studies. Qualitative data were requested, including opinions regarding NHS EED.
Results: NHS EED was used in 90 percent of all identified reviews (n=46). The questionnaire response rate was 63 percent. The percentage of scores 3 or above (most useful), 2 or below (least useful), or N/A were, respectively, (a) search strategy=62 percent, 23 percent, 15 percent; (b) data extraction=23 percent, 27 percent, 50 percent; (c) quality assessment=38 percent, 19 percent, 42 percent; (d) determining requirements for new modeling studies=27 percent, 23 percent, 50 percent. The results were expanded further in the qualitative data from the respondents.
Conclusions: NHS EED is a useful tool for a variety of tasks in the NICE/TAR process but not, unsurprisingly, as a replacement for understanding primary studies. There is, however, a need to reduce the impact of time lags between the publication of economic evaluations and the appearance of abstracts relating to them on NHS EED. The results will inform future developments of the NHS EED database, which should increase its usefulness to researchers.