Methodological challenges and potential solutions for economic evaluations of palliative and end-of-life care: A systematic review.
Fischer C., Bednarz D., Simon J.
BACKGROUND: Given the increasing demand for palliative and end-of-life care, along with the introduction of costly new treatments, there is a pressing need for robust evidence on value. However, comprehensive guidance is missing on methods for conducting economic evaluations in this field. AIM: To identify and summarise existing information on methodological challenges and potential solutions/recommendations for economic evaluations of palliative and end-of-life care. DESIGN: We conducted a systematic review of publications on methodological considerations for economic evaluations of adult palliative and end-of-life care as per our PROSPERO protocol CRD42020148160. Following initial searches, we conducted a two-stage screening process and quality appraisal. Information was thematically synthesised, coded, categorised into common themes and aligned with the items specified in the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards statement. DATA SOURCES: The databases Medline, Embase, HTADatabase, NHSEED and grey literature were searched between 1 January 1999 and 5 June 2023. RESULTS: Out of the initial 6502 studies, 81 were deemed eligible. Identified challenges could be grouped into nine themes: ambiguous and inaccurate patient identification, restricted generalisability due to poor geographic transferability of evidence, narrow costing perspective applied, difficulties defining comparators, consequences of applied time horizon, ambiguity in the selection of outcomes, challenged outcome measurement, non-standardised measurement and valuation of costs as well as challenges regarding a reliable preference-based outcome valuation. CONCLUSION: Our review offers a comprehensive context-specific overview of methodological considerations for economic evaluations of palliative and end-of-life care. It also identifies the main knowledge gaps to help prioritise future methodological research specifically for this field.