Implementation of a nationwide health economic consultation service to assist substance use researchers: Lessons learned

CHERISH investigators recently published findings and lessons learned from the implementation of CHERISH’s nationwide consultation service. The CHERISH Consultation Service is free to researchers, regardless of affiliation, whose work aligns with CHERISH’s mission and who would like to incorporate an economic analysis into their research. Interested researchers complete and submit a consultation request form online and are subsequently connected with Dr. Murphy, CHERISH Consultation Service Director. Along with the rest of the CHERISH Consultation Committee, Dr. Murphy matches them with a CHERISH investigator or Research Affiliate with relevant expertise. The researcher then receives up to six hours of consultation time.

From July 2015 through July 2017, the CHERISH Consultation Service received 28 requests from investigators around the country, the majority of which (93%) were related to planning a study or grant application. Over 50% of the consultees identified as early stage investigators, which supports CHERISH’s mission to assist the next wave of health economics investigators. Leading topics included cost-effectiveness (43%), statistical-analysis/econometrics (36%), cost (32%), cost-benefit (21%), and quality-of-life (18%). After their consultation, all consultees reported satisfaction with their overall experience and felt the consultation met their expectations. The Consultation Service results highlight the need for health-economic methodological guidance among substance use, HCV, and HIV researchers. Since the publication of the Murphy et al. article, the Consultation Service is up to 45 requests received.

Dr. Murphy stated, “I have very much enjoyed being part of the Consultation Service evolution. I also want to remind researchers that we have an outstanding team of experts with a wide range of skills, and we are happy to discuss any potential project, big or small.” Mr. Leff, second author on the recent article and part of the CHERISH Consultation team added, “I have greatly enjoyed working with new investigators and investigators new to the health economic field through the CHERISH consultation service. I look forward to connecting with more researchers across United States and growing the network of substance use researchers in health economics.”