HEDS is part of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield. We undertake research, teaching, training and consultancy on all aspects of health related decision science, with a particular emphasis on health economics, HTA and evidence synthesis.

Monday, 11 December 2017

NICE Launches PRIMA to health-check economic models

From the NICE Website

“NICE has launched Preliminary Independent Model Advice (PRIMA), a detailed peer review service to help developers of drugs, medical devices and diagnostics, and public health interventions ensure the quality of their model structure, coding, usability and transparency.

PRIMA offers companies independent expert advice on the robustness of economic models, helping to identify errors and flaws before they are used for healthcare decision-making. It also provides advice on how companies can improve their models and delivers a comprehensive report, a completed PRIMA checklist and an executable copy of the model with proposed amendments or corrections. Models can be submitted in Excel, WinBugs, R, and TreeAge.

Leeza Osipenko, head of NICE Scientific Advice said: “PRIMA will enable healthcare companies to health-check their economic models before they submit them as part of the formal evaluation process. This can help them prepare for a dialogue with health technology assessment organisations and payers, better demonstrate the value of their products and, potentially, speed up patient access. The service is open not only to models developed for future NICE evaluations but also to those developed in social care, public health, or in international settings.”

NICE Scientific Advice provides a fee-based consultancy service to developers of pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics. It works with companies in the early stages of product development and its aim is to encourage companies to consider the relative clinical and cost effectiveness of their products which can then inform the overall product development strategy.”

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Vacancy: Research Associate in Public Health Economic Modelling

Image of vacancy sign
Image CC BY 2.0 Lauren Mitchell
The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield is seeking to appoint a Research Associate with experience in quantitative research methods to contribute to the health economic modelling of tobacco and alcohol tax in the UK. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to internationally important public health economic research at a world-leading university. The project, funded by the National Institute of Health Research's Public Health Research Programme is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield and Bath.
Job Title: Research Associate in Public Health Economic Modelling
Salary: Grade 7, £30,688 - £32,548 per annum
Closing Date: 5 January 2018
This post is full-time and fixed-term for 3 years from 1 March 2018.
The three-year post will work within the Public Health Section (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/index) in the Sheffield Alcohol research group (SARG) (https://www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/research/alpol) as part of a multidisciplinary public health economics research programme that has extended Sheffield’s alcohol research to tobacco as a member of an 11 University collaboration called the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS).
For informal queries about this job and the recruiting department, contact: Professor Alan Brennan on a.brennan@sheffield.ac.uk or + 44 (0)114 222 0684, or Dr Duncan Gillespie on duncan.gillespie@sheffield.ac.uk or +44 (0)114 222 4310
For queries about the application process, contact: Jenny Doole at j.doole@sheffield.ac.uk.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Short Course: Causal Inference in Observational Studies and Clinical Trials Affected by Treatment Switching

Dr Nick Latimer is co-delivering a 4-Day Certificate Course “Causal Inference in Observational Studies and Clinical Trials Affected by Treatment Switching: A Practical Hands-on Workshop”, 16-19 April 2018 to be held in Hall in Tirol, Austria. The workshop combines lectures, discussions, exercises, and hands-on computer lab sessions in the key elements and methods of Causal Inference and treatment switching. The early-bird registration deadline is 15th February 2018. Discounts apply for group bookings, students, or if you have previously participated in a Continuing Education Program Course on HTADS at UMIT.

Course Directors:
Nicholas Latimer, BSc, MSc, PhD Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics, Health Economics and Decision Science, University of Sheffield, UK
Uwe Siebert, MD, MPH, MSc, ScD Professor of Public Health, UMIT

Ian White, MA, MSc, PhD MRC Professor of Statistical Methods for Medicine, Clinical Trials Unit, University College London, UK
Image of institute in Tirol, Austria
Tirol, Austria
Course fee 
Academic/public Euro 1,250 - Early booking fee before 15 February 2018 Euro 980

Commercial Euro 1,950 - Early booking fee before 15 February 2018 Euro 1,580

Discounts Group Registrations – Save 15% Register with three or more colleagues and save!

Students/Alumni – Save 20%If you have previously participated in a Continuing Education Program Course on HTADS, you are eligible for a discount on selected future programs.

Contact & Course Location
Continuing Education Program on HTA & Decision Sciences (HTADS) 
Institute of Public Health
Medical Decision Making and HTAUMIT 
University for Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology 
1, 6060 Hall i.T

Phone: +43 (0)50 8648 3901
Fax: +43 (0)50 8648 67 3901
Email: htads@umit.atwww.umit.at/htads 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Reform strategies for the NHS: effective or cosmetic cladding? - Dr Jennifer Dixon CBE Guest Pemberton Lecture recording.

Dr Jennifer Dixon CBE delivered the latest ScHARR Pemberton Lecture with the title: 
Reform strategies for the NHS: effective or cosmetic cladding. The recording of the lecture can be viewed here.

The NHS is the largest, highest profile, most complex and risky industry in Europe, in England alone spending £124bn this year, employing over 1m staff and providing care for the majority of the population every year. As is the case across OECD countries, health care costs outstrip GDP growth, and so the search for effective reform is constant. The suite of reforms has changed over the years – how and what has made a difference? How does the current strategy stack up, and are there gaps if the NHS is to make progress faster? How can we tell? And if there were a moratorium on all national policy for 3 years, would patients notice any difference to care? In this lecture, Jennifer draws on her experience from academe, medicine, policy analysis, and the wide portfolio of activities by the Health Foundation to prompt discussion on how progress in the NHS might be optimised. Dr Jennifer Dixon is Chief Executive of the Health Foundation.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

We ask again…are EUNetHTA Rapid Assessments fit for purpose?

In November, we questioned whether EUNetHTA’s Rapid Assessments gave sufficient emphasis to the analysis of ethical, legal and patient perspectives.  We highlighted a recent assessment of Regorafenib in which Ethics were covered by two words “not applicable” and Patient Involvement consisted of three sentences.

Well, they since have improved the quality of their Patient Involvement work in the recent assessment of Midostaurin with standard chemotherapy in FLT3-positive acute myeloid leukemia.  The full Chapter – now, four sentences, is shown below:

“After consultation with patient organisations, a Romanian patient with AML was identified. An open interview, based on the HTAi questionnaire template, was conducted with this patient. The experiences of the patient informed to some extend the outcomes taken into consideration for this joint assessment. The process for patient involvement in joint assessment REA is still under development.”

Image: What ? by wonderferret

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cochrane Collaboration Issue 11, 2017…

….is almost complete.  The website lists reviews and protocols.  The notable reviews are……
  • Genomics‐based non‐invasive prenatal testing for detection of fetal chromosomal aneuploidy in pregnant women
  • Tests for detecting strabismus in children aged 1 to 6 years in the community
  • Surgical interventions for vertical strabismus in superior oblique palsy
  • Alemtuzumab versus interferon beta 1a for relapsing‐remitting multiple sclerosis
  • Insulin for the treatment of women with gestational diabetes
  • Factors that influence the provision of intrapartum and postnatal care by skilled birth attendants in low‐ and middle‐income countries: a qualitative evidence synthesis
Notable protocols are……
  • Sequencing of anthracyclines and taxanes in neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy for early breast cancer
  • Diabetes self‐management education and support delivered by mobile health (m‐health) interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus
Image: C by duncan c

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New Course - Expert Knowledge Elicitation, Sheffield, UK, 8-10 January 2018

Image of Dr Kate Ren
Dr Kate Ren
HEDS Dr Kate Ren is collaborating with colleagues from The School of Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Sheffield to run the Expert Knowledge Elicitation course. The course takes place on 8th-10th January 2018 and is facilitated by Professor Anthony O’Hagan, Professor Jeremy Oakley, Dr John Paul Gosling, Dr Andy Hart and Dr Kate Ren.

Background Decision analytic models such as economic models submitted to NICE and similar reimbursement authorities around the world often incorporate evidence in the form of expert opinion. In particular, when suitable data are lacking, analysts may be dependent on expert opinion to obtain appropriate values for model inputs/parameters. To quantify expert uncertainty about such quantities, a process of elicitation can be used to obtain suitable probability distributions following a process of elicitation. This practical course aims to provide participants with the skills required to elicit experts’ probability distributions about unknown quantities of interest. The course is based around SHELF: a behavioural aggregation method for eliciting distributions from multiple experts.

Who will benefit from the course?

The course is suitable for health economists, statisticians, systematic reviewers and decision-makers interested in the elicitation of experts' probability distributions about unknown quantities of interest to populate their models. The course is also suitable for researchers in other disciplines who wish to learn about expert elicitation.  No previous knowledge of elicitation is assumed.

Course structure

The first two days will comprise a comprehensive short course, Elicitation with SHELF. The course will cover the principles of expert elicitation and the SHELF method, together with practical considerations in planning and running a SHELF elicitation workshop.

Participants may choose to attend the first two days only. The key role in the SHELF method is that of the facilitator. The third day, Advanced Facilitation, will be an intensive, small group, hands-on session for participants who wish to be trained to act as facilitators. Each trainee will gain practical experience of facilitating a SHELF elicitation workshop, using carefully designed and realistic scenarios. Trainees will also gain experience in another important role, that of recorder. This session is open to a maximum of four trainees.


Two-day elicitation with SHELF £500
Advanced facilitation day £1300

Course fees include lunch and refreshments. Participants will need to arrange their own accommodation.

For further details and registration, please go to


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Are EUNetHTA Rapid Assessments fit for purpose?

EUNetHTA have just published “Regorafenib indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have been previously treated with Sorafenib”.  This is an example of a rapid assessment of pharmaceutical technologies using the HTA Core Model® for Rapid Relative Effectiveness Assessment.

We all know that these assessments do not include any economics.  Instead they take a broader view of the effectiveness, together with an analysis of ethical, legal and patient perspectives.

In the above report, Chapter 7, “POTENTIAL ETHICAL, ORGANISATIONAL, PATIENT AND SOCIAL, AND LEGAL ASPECTS” consists of two words:
“Not applicable”.

Chapter 8 “PATIENT INVOLVEMENT” consists of three sentences:
“WP4 emphasises the importance of including the patient’s perspective in producing Joint Assessments. For this specific Joint Assessment, several patient organisations have been contacted to assist in identifying patients who may be interested in participating in the Joint Assessment. However, no response from patients has been received.

Is this good enough?

Image: ETHICS by wombatarama

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

HEDS Andy Tattersall named as a Jisc Social Media Superstar for 2017

Andy Tattersall has been named in Jisc's top ten HE Social Media Superstars of 2017. Andy was nominated for the award after his work creating ScHARR’s YouTube channel, Andy’s video series’ include ScHARR Bite Size series which teaches the viewer “something new in 20 minutes”.  His Research Hacks series contains 44 helpful videos, and the more recent Cite Hacks series features engaging illustrations and information – such as this video that covers blogging about your research.  
Judges’ comments: Andy’s use of YouTube playlists to give bite-sized information is a really effective way to share knowledge simply with colleagues and peers across the world.  We thought the Cite Hacks series was particularly is good.
Cartoon of Jisc Social Media Superstars
© Jisc
Andy said about social media
“Higher education is now in a continual state of change thanks to the web and social media, it offers a wealth of new opportunities for teaching and learning, knowledge sharing and opening up of our resources across the globe. Video plays an important part of that change as it allows bite size, cheap, accessible knowledge that is shared on all platforms and in the classroom, lab, or even on the bus.”
As well as @Andy_Tattersall, Andy can be found tweeting from @ScHARRSheffield and @MultiMediaIT . Each winner not only makes the top ten list, but also wins an edtech experience for their class, robot and virtual reality included. The competition sets out to celebrate the innovative ways in which social media is being used in HE to add value to sector-practice.

The final line-up was chosen by a panel of HE and social media experts, including; Jisc’s social media team, Sarah Knight (head of change – student experience), and award-winning social media editor for Times Higher Education, Chris Parr.
Richard Tatnall, digital communications manager at Jisc said:

“What really impressed me was the impact our superstars are making with their social media activity. We saw great examples of reaching vast audiences with a single message on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as making big impacts on a small, defined audiences in closed and private networks. There’s no question that social media can be highly resource intensive so being able to demonstrate the value it delivers is vital and our superstars were able to do this in spades.”

Monday, 20 November 2017

CWiPP Keynote Lecture "Health, Well-being and Preferences"

Image Professor Daniel Hausman
Professor Daniel Hausman
The Centre for Wellbeing in Public Policy (CWiPP) are hosting a Keynote Lecture by Professor Daniel Hausman (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), on: "Health, Well-being and Preferences".

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) uses a methodology that relies on representing the benefits of health care technologies in terms of numbers, by relying on public preferences over different health states. Dan Hausman will present his critique of this approach by addressing "a different and potentially powerful argument in defence of assigning values by eliciting preferences."
When: Thursday 30 November, 5.30-6.30pm Where: Lecture Theatre 7, The Diamond Please register at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cwipp/eventscurrent For queries, please email: wellbeing@sheffield.ac.uk Information related to this message is available at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cwipp.