Systematic Review of Health Economic Evaluations Focused on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: The Tortoise and the Cheetah

Madelon M. Voets, Jeroen Veltman, Cornelis H. Slump, Sabine Siesling, Hendrik Koffijberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: This study aimed to systematically review recent health economic evaluations (HEEs) of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in healthcare. The aim was to discuss pertinent methods, reporting quality and challenges for future implementation of AI in healthcare, and additionally advise future HEEs.

Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted in 2 databases (PubMed and Scopus) for articles published in the last 5 years. Two reviewers performed independent screening, full-text inclusion, data extraction, and appraisal. The Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards and Philips checklist were used for the quality assessment of included studies.
Results:A total of 884 unique studies were identified; 20 were included for full-text review, covering a wide range of medical specialties and care pathway phases. The most commonly evaluated type of AI was automated medical image analysis models (n = 9, 45%). The prevailing health economic analysis was cost minimization (n = 8, 40%) with the costs saved per case as preferred outcome measure. A total of 9 studies (45%) reported model-based HEEs, 4 of which applied a time horizon >1 year. The evidence supporting the chosen analytical methods, assessment of uncertainty, and model structures was underreported. The reporting quality of the articles was moderate as on average studies reported on 66% of Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards items.

Conclusions: HEEs of AI in healthcare are limited and often focus on costs rather than health impact. Surprisingly, model-based long-term evaluations are just as uncommon as model-based short-term evaluations. Consequently, insight into the actual benefits offered by AI is lagging behind current technological developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalValue in health
Issue number3
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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