Introduction: There has been a growing awareness of the need for rigorously and transparent reported health research, to ensure the reproducibility of studies by future researchers. Health economic evaluations, the comparative analysis of alternative interventions in terms of their costs and consequences, have been promoted as an important tool to inform decision-making. The objective of this study will be to investigate the extent to which articles of economic evaluations of healthcare interventions indexed in MEDLINE incorporate research practices that promote transparency, openness and reproducibility.
Methods and analysis: This is the study protocol for a cross-sectional comparative analysis. We registered the study protocol within the Open Science Framework (osf.io/gzaxr). We will evaluate a random sample of 600 cost-effectiveness analysis publications, a specific form of health economic evaluations, indexed in MEDLINE during 2012 (n=200), 2019 (n=200) and 2022 (n=200). We will include published papers written in English reporting an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio in terms of costs per life years gained, quality-adjusted life years and/or disability-adjusted life years. Screening and selection of articles will be conducted by at least two researchers. Reproducible research practices, openness and transparency in each article will be extracted using a standardised data extraction form by multiple researchers, with a 33% random sample (n=200) extracted in duplicate. Information on general, methodological and reproducibility items will be reported, stratified by year, citation of the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) statement and journal. Risk ratios with 95% CIs will be calculated to represent changes in reporting between 2012-2019 and 2019-2022.
Ethics and dissemination: Due to the nature of the proposed study, no ethical approval will be required. All data will be deposited in a cross-disciplinary public repository. It is anticipated the study findings could be relevant to a variety of audiences. Study findings will be disseminated at scientific conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.
Keywords: cost-effectiveness analysis; data sharing; methodology; quality; reporting; reproducibility.
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Conflict of interest statement
Competing interests: None declared.
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