Methodological aspects of economic evaluations conducted in the palliative or end of life care settings: a systematic review protocol.
Fischer C., Chwala E., Simon J.
INTRODUCTION: In light of this growing palliative care and end of life care patient population, as well as new (expensive) drugs and treatments, quality research providing evidence for decision-making is required. However, common research guidance is lacking in this field, especially in respect to the methods applied in economic evaluations. Therefore, the aim of the planned systematic review is to identify and summarise relevant information on methodological challenges, potential solutions and recommendations for conducting economic evaluations of interventions in adult patients, irrespective of their underlying disease and gender in the palliative or end of life care settings, with no restrictions in regards to countries/geographical regions. The results of this systematic review may help to clarify the current methodological questions and form the basis of new, setting specific methods guidelines and support ongoing applied economic evaluations in the field. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A systematic review will be conducted using Medline, Embase, Health Technology Assessment Database and NHS Economic Evaluation Database to identify the studies published from 1999 onwards with relevant information on methodological challenges, potential solutions and recommendations for conducting economic evaluations in the palliative or end of life care settings. Articles in English, German, Spanish, French or Dutch language will be considered. Two independent reviewers will conduct the screening of articles; any discrepancies will be resolved by discussion and involvement of a third reviewer. Predesigned data extraction forms will be applied, consequently narratively synthesised and categorised. Studies' methodological quality will be critically appraised. Besides existing economic guidelines and checklists for specific information on the palliative and end of life care sector will be searched. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required, as this is a planned systematic review of published literature. An article will be disseminated in a related peer-reviewed journal, as well as presented at leading palliative care and health economic conferences. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020148160.