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A Dynamic Programming Approach to Efficient Clinical Trial Design

Claxton, K. and Thompson, K. M. (2001) A Dynamic Programming Approach to Efficient Clinical Trial Design. Journal of Health Economics, 20 (5). pp. 797-822. ISSN 0167-6296

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Abstract

If the prospective evaluation of all feasible strategies of patient management is not possible or efficient then this poses a number of questions: (i) which clinical decision problems will be worth evaluating through prospective clinical research; (ii) if a clinical decision problem is worth evaluating which of the many competing alternatives should be considered “relevant” and be compared in the evaluation; (iii) what is the optimal (technically efficient) scale of this prospective research; (iv) what is an optimal allocation of trial entrants between the competing alternatives; and (v) what is the value of this proposed research? The purpose of this paper is to present a Bayesian decision theoretic approach to the value of information which can provide answers to each of these questions. An analysis of the value of sample information was combined with dynamic programming and applied to numerical examples of sequential decision problems. The analysis demonstrates that this approach can be used to establish: optimal sample size; optimal sample allocation; and the societal payoff to proposed research. This approach provides a consistent way to identify which of the competing alternatives can be regarded as “relevant” and should be included in any evaluative study design. Bayesian decision theory can provide a general methodological framework that can ensure consistency in decision making between service provision, research and development, and the design, conduct and interpretation clinical research.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Bayesian decision theory; Value of information; Clinical trials; Stochastic CEA
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Economics and Related Studies (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2009 12:47
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2009 12:47
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-6296(01)00093-5
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
Identification Number: 10.1016/S0167-6296(01)00093-5
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6683

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