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Using decision-analytic modelling to transfer international evidence from health technology assessment to the context of the German health care system

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Abstract:

The objective of this Health Technology Assessment (HTA) methods report was to examine and to assess decision analysis (DA) as a method to transfer and adapt international scientific evidence in HTA to the German health care context. Furthermore, we sought to develop a systematic framework to facilitate the selection, transfer, adaptation, and synthesis of these data in German HTA projects. In this report, we review and summarise the concepts and methods of DA; present potential areas of applications, and provide a basis for the critical assessment of decision-analytic studies. The two main methods of DA, decision trees and Markov models, as well as various approaches to sensitivity analyses are described. Examples of typical situations for the use of DA in scientific evidence transfer are described, and a list of main health care domains and parameters in evidence transfer is presented. Finally, we developed a framework to transfer and apply international evidence to the national health care context. The strengths and limitations of the decision-analytic approach are critically examined. In summary, this HTA report describes different situations, in which decision-analytic models can be useful, and demonstrates the utility of DA in transferring and applying international evidence to the national health care context. We developed a systematic instrument to transfer international evidence to the context of other countries and successfully applied this instrument in two German HTA projects. The use of this instrument is recommended in further HTA projects dealing with the application of international evidence to the German health care context. The use of decision-analytic models to transfer international evidence is endorsed. However, the limitations of DA should be clearly stated discussed transparently in all HTA reports.

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