Estimation of the Width of Uncertainty in Care Consumption and Costs When Using Common Data Collection Tools in Economic Evaluations: A Benchmark for Sensitivity Analyses

Value Health. 2021 Oct;24(10):1416-1422. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2021.05.004. Epub 2021 Jul 23.


Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the uncertainty related to the use of common collection tools to assess costs in economic evaluations compared with an exhaustive administrative database.

Methods: A pragmatic study was performed using preexisting cost-effectiveness studies. Patients were probabilistically matched with themselves in the French National Health Data System (Système National des Données de Santé [SNDS]), and all their reimbursed hospital and ambulatory care data during the study were extracted. Outcomes included the ratio of the number of each type of resources consumed using trial data (case report forms for ambulatory care and local hospital data for hospital care) versus the SNDS and the ratio of corresponding costs. Mean ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using bootstrapping. The impact of the collection tool on the result of the economic evaluation was calculated with the difference in costs between the 2 treatment arms with both collection methods.

Results: Five cost-effectiveness studies were included in the analysis. A total of 397 patients had the SNDS hospital data, and 321 had ambulatory care data. Common collection tools underestimated hospital admissions by 13% (95% CI 8-20), corresponding costs by 5% (95% CI 2-14), and ambulatory acts by 41% (95% CI 33-51), with large variations in costs depending on the study. There was no change in the economic conclusion in any study.

Conclusions: The use of common collection tools underestimates healthcare resource consumption and its associated costs, particularly for ambulatory care. Our results could provide useful evidence-based estimates to inform sensitivity analyses' parameters in future cost-effectiveness analyses.

Keywords: cost-effectiveness evaluation; data collection; sensitivity analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / standards*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / standards*
  • Data Collection / trends
  • France
  • Humans
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Uncertainty*