Research Methodology Can Help Identify Best Approaches to Achieve Optimal Health Outcomes for Patients
Princeton, NJ—March 14, 2017—The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) published a new task force report, Constrained Optimization Methods in Health Services Research—An Introduction: Report 1 of the ISPOR Optimization Methods Emerging Good Practices Task Force, in the March 2017 issue of Value in Health. This new task force report provides health care researchers and decision makers with an introductory overview of this important methodology.
Constrained optimization methods are used by health care researchers to identify the best solution to an issue that has a number of potential approaches and constraints. In health care, for example, optimization methods have been used to determine what approaches offer the best outcomes for diagnosing diseases, designing clinical trials, and creating treatment algorithms.
“By ‘optimal,’ we refer to the best possible solution given the complexity of system inputs, outputs/outcomes, and constraints,” said the report’s lead author, William H. Crown, PhD, chief science officer of OptumLabs, Cambridge, MA, USA.
“Many health care problems have a common mathematical structure—for example, maximizing societal health care benefits subject to a budget constraint or identifying optimal treatment pathways for patients given their proximity to available services. Failing to identify a truly ‘optimal’ solution in such cases represents a missed opportunity to improve clinical outcomes for patients and economic efficiency in the delivery of care,” said Crown.
“Up to one-third of health care expenditure is wasted, producing no clinical benefit for patients,” noted senior author, Kalyan S. Pasupathy, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA. “All stakeholders from patients to policy makers and physicians want to improve health care system efficiency. By treating patients optimally, we have the potential to improve population health and enhance the value associated with health care expenditure. For individual patients, this can translate to providing treatment with the most appropriate therapy in a timely manner. For physicians, this can help provide optimal health outcomes for their patients, enhance the performance of their medical practice, and offer more efficient health care delivery.”
This new ISPOR Good Practices for Outcomes Research Task Force Report explains how constrained optimization methods provide a means for identifying the best policy choice or clinical intervention given a specific goal and set of constraints. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the methodology, including: (1) definitions, key concepts, and the main steps in building an optimization model; (2) the types of problems where an optimal solution can be determined in real-world health applications; and (3) how to choose the appropriate optimization methods for these problems.
Additional information on the Optimization Methods in Health Care Delivery: Emerging Good Practices Task Force can be found here. The full, open-access article of the task force report can be found here.
The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that promotes health economics and outcomes research excellence to improve decision making for health globally.
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ABOUT VALUE IN HEALTH
Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) is an international, indexed journal that publishes original research and health policy articles that advance the field of health economics and outcomes research to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal’s 2015 impact factor score is 3.824. Value in Health is ranked 3rd out of 74 journals in health policy and services (social sciences), 8th out of 87 journals in health care sciences and services, and 10th out of 344 journals in economics (social sciences). Value in Health publishes 10 issues a year and circulates to more than 10,000 readers around the world.
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ABOUT ISPOR GOOD PRACTICES FOR OUTCOMES RESEARCH TASK FORCE REPORTS
ISPOR has earned an international reputation for research excellence based, in part, on its Good Practices for Outcomes Research Task Force Reports. These highly cited reports are expert consensus guideline recommendations on good practice standards for outcomes research (clinical, economic, and patient-reported outcomes) and on the use of this research in health care decision making. ISPOR Task Forces are comprised of subject matter experts representing different stakeholders from diverse work environments (i.e., regulators, payers, manufacturers, technology assessors, etc. from research, government, academic, and industry sectors around the world). All ISPOR Good Practices for Outcomes Research Task Force Reports are published in the Society’s scientific journal, Value in Health, and are made freely available as open access articles as part of the Society’s mission.