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Economic evaluation of healthcare technologies

HERG is well known for its applied economic evaluations of healthcare interventions. We specialise in the evaluation of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as medical devices, interventional procedures, screening and diagnostic tests. The methods that we employ include cost-effectiveness analysis based on clinical trial data and decision analytic modelling. Our research often involves the development and testing of new methods of analysis and consideration of the links to decision-making. HERG researchers also conduct systematic reviews in a wide variety of health topics. This research has a focus on combining systematic reviews with economic evaluations to assist policy-makers whilst improving methods for systematic reviewing and health technology assessments. 

Recent projects include evaluations of physical therapies for back pain and rheumatoid arthritis, tests for tuberculosis and liver disease, imaging to detect recurrent cervical cancer and treatment pathways for atrial fibrillation. HERG collaborates with excellent clinical researchers from various NHS and academic organisations, and has a long-standing relationship with Papworth hospital, providing economic expertise to support their clinical research.

Researchers at HERG have particular expertise in the evaluation of medical devices. We collaborated on the Brunel-led multidisciplinary MATCH programme on the evaluation of medical devices funded by EPSRC, DH, industry and the National Patient Safety Agency. HERG, in partnership with colleagues at the University of Birmingham, was also home to one of the External Assessment Centres (EAC) for the NICE Medical Technology Evaluation Pathway Programme whose remit was to provide guidance to the NHS on the appropriate use of medical devices. The EAC supplied an independent assessment of the evidence for medical technologies and related economic analyses to inform NICE decision-making.  

HERG also conducts research to inform the interface between health technology assessment and healthcare decision making. These projects have included research into the use of recommendations conditional on further research by NICE and development of a conceptual framework for use in decision-making.

The stability of HERG enabled us to invest in projects with a long term pay-off; for example, a study of the cost-effectiveness of the liver-transplant programme including all six English transplant centres, an evaluation of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms with over ten years of follow-up, and a series of specific trials within the long-term partnership with Papworth Hospital.