The Office of Health Economics (OHE) have published a consulting report discussing the use of a cost-per-QALY gained decision rule to appraise treatments for very rare conditions. The report has been published as part of the NICE Highly Specialised Technologies (HST) programme and argues that it is inappropriate to focus a HST appraisal on only a cost-per-QALY measure and that the thresholds recommended seem arbitrary.
A systematic review on strategies to improve recruitment to randomised controlled trials has been added to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The review has been carried out by staff at HSRU and is headed by Shaun Treweek. It concludes that telling people what they will receive in the trial and phoning people who do not respond to postal invitations are effective methods of improving recruitment but overall the evidence-base on the topic is weak.
The Health Economics Research Centre at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, have updated their database of studies that map to EQ-5D from other patient-reported outcome measures or clinical instruments. The database presents details of the sample size, modelling methods and patient population, in addition to the citation details and source instruments that are mapped in each of the studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Also, an article summarising the methods of the literature review and the results has been published in the journal Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.
The EQUATOR Network have featured an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on guidelines for the inclusion of patient-reported outcomes in clinical trial protocols. The SPIRIT (Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials) statement was published in 2013 and aims to improve the completeness of trial protocols by providing evidence-based recommendations for the minimum set of items to be included in clinical trial protocols, but it does not provide specific patient-reported outcome (PRO) guidance. A systematic review, stakeholder consultation, Delphi exercise and a consensus meeting led to the recommendations for items that should be addressed and included in clinical trial protocols in which PROs are a primary or key secondary outcome
Healthcare Improvement Scotland have issued their February e-newsletter. Scottish Health Technology Group guidance on the use of robotic surgery is featured, there is also a news article on ten years of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and a blog item by the acting director of the Scottish Health Council on engaging people and communities in Scotland to improve care.
The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) have published a clinical guideline on the pharmacological management of migraine.
The European Commission has put forward a proposal to boost cooperation amongst European Union member states on assessing health technology. The proposed Regulation on Health Technology Assessment covers new medicines and certain new medical devices, providing the basis for permanent and sustainable cooperation at the EU level for joint clinical assessments in these areas. The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. It is expected that once it is adopted and enters into force, it will become applicable three years later. Following the date of application, a further three-year period is envisaged to allow for a phase-in approach for Member States to adapt to the new system.