Health Economics Unit MRFF grant success: Measuring and Valuing changes in child health to facilitate robust decision making

Kim Dalziel (left) & Nancy Devlin (right) 

Professor Nancy Devlin, together with HEU’s Assoc. Professor Kim Dalziel and colleagues from UTS, Flinders University, Curtin University, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Monash University, have been awarded a $2.35 million MRFF grant to improve the way child health is measured and valued in health technology appraisal.

Decisions about health care rely on evidence that treatments work and are value for money. This is typically assessed by the improvements in Quality adjusted life years (QALYs) from treatment, and its cost effectiveness.  Methods conventionally used to measure and value adults’ health related quality of life (HRQoL) do not work well in valuing paediatric HRQoL and preclude asking children for their views. We provided an overview of these issues in Devlin (2020). Given these problems, there has been low uptake of these tools in the evidence used to inform healthcare decisions. The resulting gap in evidence risks significant misallocation of funds, potentially denying access to effective and cost-effective paediatric interventions.

Our research will comprehensively address these issues in measuring and valuing child health for use in assessing effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Deliverables will include (i) a database of paediatric HRQoL data across different questionnaires and diseases (ii) improved methods for self-and proxy-report of child HRQOL (iii) state of the art methods for valuing child health states, including producing Australian value set for at least one widely used paediatric HRQoL questionnaire (iv) evidence on the weight placed on child vs. adult QALYs by patients, the general public and decision makers.

This three-year project will run June 2020 to mid 2023.

Research team: Nancy Devlin, Richard Norman (Curtin), Rosalie Viney (UTS), Julie Ratcliffe (Flinders), Kim Dalziel, Brendan Mulhern (UTS), Harriet Hiscock (MCRI), Deborah Street (UTS), Gang Chen (Monash).  The research will receive input from a number of associate investigators and a Decision Makers’ Panel.