Members from the Health Economics Unit present at the Australian Health Economics Society Conference 2017

Professor Philip Clarke, Dr An-Duy Tran, Dr Natalie Carvalho, Dr Li Huang, Ms XinYang Hua and Ms Michelle Tew presented at the recent Australian Health Economics Society (AHES) conference held September 21-22 in Sydney, NSW. The annual AHES conference is the largest health economics meeting in Australia, and provides a platform for the presentation and discussion of current research in the application of economics to health and health care systems in Australia and globally.

Professor Philip Clarke spoke on the contributions of economist Edgar Sydenstricker in his oral presentation titled Edgar Sydenstricker : The first health economist? He shared that Sydenstricker used a range of statistics including time series on food prices and household incomes to correctly argue that it was due to a dietary deficiency. Sydenstricker also played a pivotal role in the development of the first US National Health Survey, in extending health insurance in the US and methods of evaluating public health programs that involve assessment of costs and outcomes. This work was conducted in collaboration with Guido Erreygers (University of Antwerp).

Dr. An Duy Tran delivered an oral presentation on a health economic analysis of stopping biological agent therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in remission. The analysis was led by Dr. Tran in collaboration with members of the Dutch National POET Collaboration and colleagues from the University of Melbourne (Prof. Philip Clarke and Prof. Geoff McColl). Based on the largest randomised controlled trial on discontinuing biological agents in 817 RA patients at 47 rheumatology centres in the Netherlands, the study showed that an average RA patient in remission could save more than €7,000 per year with a negligible loss in quality of life when biological agents were discontinued and restarted when needed, suggesting significant potential for disinvestment decision.

Dr Natalie Carvalho delivered an oral presentation at the meeting entitled: ‘Capturing equity considerations in cost-effectiveness analysis: A systematic review of rotavirus vaccine economic analyses in LMICs’. This study investigates to what extent equity considerations have been taken into account in CEA in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), using rotavirus vaccination as a case study. This research was funded by the University of Melbourne McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship and represents a collaborative project between Dr Carvalho (project lead) and colleagues from the University of Bologna (Marie-Anne Boujaoude – first author), the University of York (Dr Andrew Mirelman), and the University of Melbourne (Dr Kim Dalziel).

Dr Li Huang delivered an oral presentation titled ‘Life satisfaction, QALYs, and the monetary value of health’. The study has proposed to use general life satisfaction to estimate the monetary value of a quality-adjusted life year (QALY). The method has the potential to be applied internationally for country-specific QALY thresholds.

Ms Xinyang Hua presented her recent work ‘Can self-rated health be used as a measure for global health?’ Collaborating with researchers from the George Institute for Global Health, this study explores whether self-rated heath has the same predictive ability on mortality across different countries.

Ms Michelle Tew presented her work from her PhD project in which she examines the ‘Use health-related quality of life as predictors of outcomes in total knee replacement patients’. The preliminary findings show that baseline (pre-operative) quality of life and changes in quality of life 12 months after surgery are independent predictors of mortality. This project is supported by the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Total Joint Replacement (OPUS).