Bridging health technology assessment (HTA) and efficient health care decision making with multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA): applying the EVIDEM framework to medicines appraisal

Med Decis Making. 2012 Mar-Apr;32(2):376-88. doi: 10.1177/0272989X11416870. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


Background: Health care decision making is complex and requires efficient and explicit processes to ensure transparency and consistency of factors considered.

Objectives: To pilot an adaptable decision-making framework incorporating multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) in health technology assessment (HTA) with a pan-Canadian group of policy and clinical decision makers and researchers appraising 10 medicines covering 6 therapeutic areas.

Methods: An appraisal group was convened and participants were asked to express their individual perspectives, independently of the medicines, by assigning weights to each criterion of the MCDA core model: disease severity, size of population, current practice and unmet needs, intervention outcomes (efficacy, safety, patient reported), type of health benefit, economics, and quality of evidence. Participants then assigned performance scores for each medicine using available evidence synthesized in a "by-criterion" HTA report covering each of the MCDA CORE model criteria. MCDA estimates of perceived value were calculated by combining normalized weights and scores. Feedback on the approach was collected through structured discussion.

Results: Relative weights on criteria varied widely, reflecting the diverse perspectives of participants. Scores for each criterion provided a performance measure, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of each medicine. MCDA estimates of perceived value ranged from 0.42 to 0.64 across medicines, providing comprehensive measures incorporating a large spectrum of criteria. Participants reported that the framework provided an efficient approach to systematic consideration in a pragmatic format of the multiple elements guiding decision, including criteria and values (MCDA core model) and evidence (HTA "by-criterion" report).

Conclusions: This proof-of-concept study demonstrated the usefulness of incorporating MCDA in HTA to support transparent and systematic appraisal of health care interventions. Further research is needed to advance MCDA-based approaches to more effective healthcare decision making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Drug Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quebec
  • Social Responsibility
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical*
  • Treatment Outcome