Systematic Review of Health Economic Impact Evaluations of Risk Prediction Models: Stop Developing, Start Evaluating

Value Health. 2017 Apr;20(4):718-726. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Mar 11.


Background: Although health economic evaluations (HEEs) are increasingly common for therapeutic interventions, they appear to be rare for the use of risk prediction models (PMs).

Objectives: To evaluate the current state of HEEs of PMs by performing a comprehensive systematic review.

Methods: Four databases were searched for HEEs of PM-based strategies. Two reviewers independently selected eligible articles. A checklist was compiled to score items focusing on general characteristics of HEEs of PMs, model characteristics and quality of HEEs, evidence on PMs typically used in the HEEs, and the specific challenges in performing HEEs of PMs.

Results: After screening 791 abstracts, 171 full texts, and reference checking, 40 eligible HEEs evaluating 60 PMs were identified. In these HEEs, PM strategies were compared with current practice (n = 32; 80%), to other stratification methods for patient management (n = 19; 48%), to an extended PM (n = 9; 23%), or to alternative PMs (n = 5; 13%). The PMs guided decisions on treatment (n = 42; 70%), further testing (n = 18; 30%), or treatment prioritization (n = 4; 7%). For 36 (60%) PMs, only a single decision threshold was evaluated. Costs of risk prediction were ignored for 28 (46%) PMs. Uncertainty in outcomes was assessed using probabilistic sensitivity analyses in 22 (55%) HEEs.

Conclusions: Despite the huge number of PMs in the medical literature, HEE of PMs remains rare. In addition, we observed great variety in their quality and methodology, which may complicate interpretation of HEE results and implementation of PMs in practice. Guidance on HEE of PMs could encourage and standardize their application and enhance methodological quality, thereby improving adequate use of PM strategies.

Keywords: diagnostic model; health economic evaluation; impact; prognostic model; risk prediction model; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome