Value of Information for clinical trial design: the importance of considering all relevant comparators

Anna Heath*, Gianluca Baio, Ioanna Manolopoulou, Nicky J Welton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Value of Information (VOI) analyses calculate the economic value that could be generated by obtaining further information to reduce uncertainty in a health economic decision model. VOI has been suggested as a tool for research prioritisation and trial design as it can highlight economically valuable avenues for future research. Recent methodological advances have made it increasingly feasible to use VOI in practice for research. However, there are critical differences between the VOI approach and the standard methods used to design research studies such as clinical trials.

We aim to highlight key differences between the research design approach based on VOI and standard clinical trial design methods, in particular the importance of considering the full decision context. We present two hypothetical examples to demonstrate that VOI methods are only accurate when (a) all feasible comparators are included in the decision model when designing research and (b) all comparators are retained in the decision model once the data have been collected and a final treatment recommendation is made. Omitting comparators from either the design or analysis phase of research when using VOI methods can lead to incorrect trial designs and/or treatment recommendations.

Overall, we conclude that incorrectly specifying the health economic model by ignoring potential comparators can lead to misleading VOI results and potentially waste scarce research resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-486
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Early online date7 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.


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