Cluster randomized trials: Another problem for cost-effectiveness ratios

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 2005, 21 (3), pp. 403 - 409
Issue Date:
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Objectives: This work has investigated under what conditions cost-effectiveness data from a cluster randomized trial (CRT) are suitable for analysis using a cluster-adjusted nonparametric bootstrap. The bootstrap's main advantages are in dealing with skewed data and its ability to take correlations between costs and effects into account. However, there are known theoretical problems with a commonly used cluster bootstrap procedure, and the practical implications of these require investigation. Methods: Simulations were used to estimate the coverage of confidence intervals around incremental cost-effectiveness ratios from CRTs using two bootstrap methods. Results: The bootstrap gave excessively narrow confidence intervals, but there was evidence to suggest that, when the number of clusters per treatment arm exceeded 24, it might give acceptable results. The method that resampled individuals as well as clusters did not perform well when cost and effectiveness data were correlated. Conclusions: If economic data from such trials are to be analyzed adequately, then there is a need for further investigations of more complex bootstrap procedures. Similarly, further research is required on methods such as the net benefit approach. Copyright © 2005 Cambridge University Press.
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