PhD ceremony: G.A.A. Hubben, 16.15 uur, Doopsgezinde Kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, Groningen
Thesis: Cost-effectiveness of infectious disease interventions, combining economic modelling and web technology to support decision making
Promotor(s): prof. M.J. Postma
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Cost-effectiveness analysis of healthcare interventions can be more effective, concludes Gijs Hubben in his thesis. The ultimate goal of the economic evaluation of healthcare interventions is to inform decision makers how to optimally allocate healthcare resources. A commonly used type of economic evaluation is cost-effectiveness analysis. This method makes use of mathematical models to synthesize available evidence from a wide range of sources and project the future costs and effects of healthcare interventions. But the outcome of these models strongly depends on the regional setting and the number of relevant scenarios and strategies can be daunting. In his thesis Hubben has explored the use of modern web technology to allow interaction with cost-effectiveness models via the internet, to enhance the role of economic models to actively and directly support decision makers, and to allow these models to be more easily adapted to other settings. He constructed web interfaces within several modelling studies of infectious diseases using different types of models: a decision analytical cohort model for a pneumococcal vaccination program, two Markov models to study blood transfusion screening and HIV treatment and a discrete event simulation model to study screening strategies for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at hospital admission. His thesis was a ‘concept exploration’ rather than the evaluation of a method, because the requirements of web interfaces to economic models as well as the software to construct these interfaces had to be developed and tested first. Nevertheless, three important conclusions could be drawn related to the use of web technology to interact with economic models: 1) economic models of healthcare interventions can play a greater role to actively support decision making, if decision makers can directly interact with these models, 2) through the use of web technology, the technical complexities associated with the use of modelling technology can be overcome, and 3) web technology offers a convenient way to disseminate models to a broad audience of decision makers, both at the national and regional level.
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