On March 19, researchers from institutions across the country joined CHERISH leaders Bruce Schackman, Kathryn McCollister, Benjamin Linas and Sean Murphy for a daylong CHERISH introductory training to economic evaluations. Dr. Schackman began the day by introducing CHERISH to the attendees, who represented more than 25 institutions across New England, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the South and the West Coast. He went on to review costing methods for economic evaluations, identifying which resources should be included in economic evaluations and how to estimate their value.
CHERISH staff then led participants through an example to apply these concepts in Microsoft Excel. The example was based on a recent publication from CHERISH investigators in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence on the cost-effectiveness of HCV linkage strategies in methadone maintenance treatment programs. Dr. Murphy finished the morning by presenting on the concept of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), including the rationale for including QALYs in economic evaluations, and how to calculate them using health-related quality-of-life surveys.
In the afternoon, Drs. Linas and McCollister used these concepts in their lectures on Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit Analyses. CHERISH staff also continued their Microsoft Excel example and helped participants re-create a cost-effectiveness analysis based on the Drug and Alcohol Dependence publication.
More than half of the participants were new investigators or students. Approximately three quarters of the participants had a PhD degree or were MDs. All reported an increase in knowledge and confidence about the topics.
Overall, evaluations showed high satisfaction with the course and enthusiasm for learning about cost-effectiveness analysis. One participant wrote “I thought that the sessions were all comprehensive, but not overwhelming. My intention in attending was to ensure that I had up to date information about the latest tools and techniques that I could take back to my institution. The session accomplished that and more.” Another participant wrote, “I really enjoyed all the speakers and learned a tremendous amount about cost effectiveness and cost analysis!”