Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 March 2014
Objectives: Procedures and new medical devices are typically introduced into healthcare systems with limited evidence, when they might be ineffective or unsafe. Systematic data collection (“registers”) can provide valuable “real world” evidence, but difficulties in funding registers are a major obstacle. A good economic case for the value of registers would therefore be useful.
Methods: (i) Literature search on specific purposes of registers. (ii) Surveys (a) of senior clinicians involved with registers, seeking examples of beneficial outcomes, and (b) of administrators, regarding costs of running registers. (iii) A scoping exercise for possible methods to value (financially) the outputs of registers.
Results: Four main categories of beneficial outcomes from registers were identified. These were—safety and quality assurance; training and quality improvement; complementing trial evidence and reducing uncertainty; and supporting trial research. Explicit examples of all these are presented, together with information about the costs of registers. Combining these with the scoping exercise we present suggestions for a methodology of assessing the value of registers across each of the categories.
Conclusions: This study is unique in addressing methods for determining the financial value of registers, based on the amount they cost versus the financial benefits which may result from the evidence generated. Developing the suggested methods could support the case for funding new registers, by showing that their use can benefit healthcare systems through more efficient use of resources, so justifying their costs.