Objectives: Although the importance of economic evaluations is recognized, research suggests the ways in which studies are summarized may not be optimal for a busy decision maker with little training in economics methodology. Therefore, the objective of this study was to seek decision makers' views on different summary formats, including a score, short summary, and structured abstracts of different degrees of detail.
Methods: We contacted 2,400 people, of which 84 decision makers volunteered and were presented, cumulatively, with different formats and asked whether these provided sufficient detail on the methodology and results of an economic study.
Results: From the fifty decision makers who responded to the questionnaire, it was found that the preferred combination was a very short summary, plus a more detailed structured abstract. It was also found that decision makers with economics training preferred the most detailed format, partly reflecting their reasons for consulting economic evaluations.
Conclusions: Decision makers require both an initial screen of study content, plus more detail should they find the study relevant or interesting.