With new treatments constantly being developed, we need reliable methods for their simultaneous evaluation to ensure optimal treatments are being offered.
Often when evaluating healthcare we compare each new treatment to current practice. However there may be interest in comparing more than two competing healthcare interventions to answer policy relevant questions. Our aim was to assess the added value of using statistical models which consider all relevant study results simultaneously over the standard 'pairwise' approaches in a number of real examples.
The difference between the two approaches was generally unpredictable - sometimes agreeing closely whilst in other instances different considerably. In all examples, considering all evidence simultaneously allow the inclusion of results from more trials in the evaluation.
Says Professor A Sutton, "There has been a surge in interest in methods for evaluating multiple competing interventions. Due to the international research team brought together for this research, we were able to carry out a detailed appraisal of the use of such methods in practice using real examples."
The topic will be discussed in an upcoming issue of Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes Research.