Methods for the collection of resource use data within clinical trials: a systematic review of studies funded by the UK Health Technology Assessment program

Value Health. 2010 Dec;13(8):867-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4733.2010.00788.x. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Background: The UK Health Technology Assessment (HTA) program funds trials that address issues of clinical and cost-effectiveness to meet the needs of the National Health Service (NHS). The objective of this review was to systematically assess the methods of resource use data collection and costing; and to produce a best practice guide for data capture within economic analyses alongside clinical trials.

Methods: All 100 HTA-funded primary research papers published to June 2009 were reviewed for the health economic methods employed. Data were extracted and summarized by: health technology assessed, costing perspective adopted, evidence of planning and piloting, data collection method, frequency of data collection, and sources of unit cost data.

Results: Ninety-five studies were identified as having conducted an economic analysis, of which 85 recorded patient-level resource use. The review identified important differences in how data are collected. These included: a priori evidence of analysts having identified important cost drivers; the piloting and validation of patient-completed resource use questionnaires; choice of costing perspective; and frequency of data collection. Areas of commonality included: the extensive use of routine medical records and reliance on patient recall; and the use of standard sources of unit costs.

Conclusion: Economic data collection is variable, even among a homogeneous selection of trials designed to meet the needs of a common organization (NHS). Areas for improvement have been identified, and based on our findings and related reviews and guidelines, a checklist is proposed for good practice relating to economic data collection within clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Economics, Pharmaceutical / standards*
  • Humans
  • Research Design / standards*
  • State Medicine
  • United Kingdom