Decision analytical economic modelling within a Bayesian framework: application to prophylactic antibiotics use for caesarean section

Cooper, N J; Sutton, A J; Abrams, K R
December 2002
Statistical Methods in Medical Research;Dec2002, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p491
Academic Journal
journal article
Economic evaluation of health care interventions based on decision analytic modelling can generate valuable information for health policy decision makers. However, the usefulness of the results obtained depends on the quality of the data input into the model; that is, the accuracy of the estimates for the costs, effectiveness, and transition probabilities between the different health states of the model. The aim of this paper is to review the use of Bayesian decision models in economic evaluation and to demonstrate how the individual components required for decision analytical modelling (i.e., systematic review incorporating meta-analyses, estimation of transition probabilities, evaluation of the model, and sensitivity analysis) may be addressed simultaneously in one coherent Bayesian model evaluated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation implemented in the specialist Bayesian statistics software WinBUGS. To illustrate the method described, a simple probabilistic decision model is developed to evaluate the cost implications of using prophylactic antibiotics in caesarean section to reduce the incidence of wound infection. The advantages of using the Bayesian statistical approach outlined compared to the conventional classical approaches to decision analysis include the ability to: (i) perform all necessary analyses, including all intermediate analyses (e.g., meta-analyses) required to derive model parameters, in a single coherent model; (ii) incorporate expert opinion either directly or regarding the relative credibility of different data sources; (iii) use the actual posterior distributions for parameters of interest (opposed to making distributional assumptions necessary for the classical formulation); and (iv) incorporate uncertainty for all model parameters.


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