The challenge of transparency and validation in health economic decision modelling: a view from Mount Hood
Kent, S and Becker, F and Feenstra, T and Tran-Duy, A and Schlackow, I and Tew, M and Zhang, P and Ye, W and Lizheng, S and Herman, W and McEwan, P and Schramm, W and Gray, A and Leal, J and Lamotte, M and Willis, M and Palmer, AJ and Clarke, P, The challenge of transparency and validation in health economic decision modelling: a view from Mount Hood, Pharmacoeconomics pp. 1-8. ISSN 1170-7690 (2019) [Refereed Article]
Transparency in health economic decision modelling is important for engendering confidence in the models and in the reliability of model-based cost-effectiveness analyses. The Mount Hood Diabetes Challenge Network has taken a lead in promoting transparency through validation with biennial conferences in which diabetes modelling groups meet to compare simulated outcomes of pre-specified scenarios often based on the results of pivotal clinical trials. Model registration is a potential method for promoting transparency, while also reducing the duplication of effort. An important network initiative is the ongoing construction of a diabetes model registry (https://www.mthooddiabeteschallenge.com). Following the 2012 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and the Society of Medical Decision Making (ISPOR-SMDM) guidelines, we recommend that modelling groups provide technical and non-technical documentation sufficient to enable model reproduction, but not necessarily provide the model code. We also request that modelling groups upload documentation on the methods and outcomes of validation efforts, and run reference case simulations so that model outcomes can be compared. In this paper, we discuss conflicting definitions of transparency in health economic modelling, and describe the ongoing development of a registry of economic models for diabetes through the Mount Hood Diabetes Challenge Network, its objectives and potential further developments, and highlight the challenges in its construction and maintenance. The support of key stakeholders such as decision-making bodies and journals is key to ensuring the success of this and other registries. In the absence of public funding, the development of a network of modellers is of huge value in enhancing transparency, whether through registries or other means.