Using AHP weights to fill missing gaps in Markov decision models

L. Steuten, M. Hummel, G. van de Wetering, G. Groothuis-Oudshoorn, K. Doggen, M. IJzerman

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OBJECTIVES: We propose to combine the versatility of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) with the decision-analytic sophistication of health-economic modeling in a new methodology for early technology assessment. As an illustration, we apply this methodology to a new technology to diagnose breast cancer.

METHODS: The AHP is a technique for multicriteria analysis, relatively new in the fi eld of technology assessment. It can integrate both quantitative and qualitative criteria in the assessment of alternative technologies. We applied the AHP to prioritize a more versatile set of outcome measures than most Markov models do. These outcome measures include clinical effectiveness and costs, but also weighted estimates of patient comfort and safety. Furthermore, as no clinical data are available for this technology yet, the AHP is applied to predict the performance of the new technology with regard to all these outcome measures. Results of the AHP are subsequently integrated in a Markov model to make an early assessment of the expected incremental cost-effectiveness of alternative technologies.

RESULTS: We systematically estimated priors on the clinical effectiveness and wider impacts of the new technology using AHP. In our illustration, AHP estimates for sensitivity and specifi city of the new diagnostic technology were used as probability parameters in the Markov model. Moreover, the prioritized outcome measures including clinical effectiveness (weight = 0.61), patient comfort (weight = 0.09), and safety (weight = 0.30) were integrated into one outcome measure in the Markov model.

CONCLUSIONS: Combining AHP and Markov modelling is particularly valuable in early technology assessment when evidence about the effectiveness of health care technology is still limited or missing. Moreover, combining these methods is valuable when decision makers are interested in other patient relevant outcomes measures besides the technology’s clinical effectiveness, and that may not (adequately or explicitly) be captured in mainstream utility measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberMO4
Pages (from-to)A241-A241
Number of pages1
JournalValue in health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2010
EventISPOR 13th Annual European Congress 2010: Health Technology Assessment: A European Collaboration - Prague Congress Centre, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 6 Nov 20109 Nov 2010
Conference number: 13


  • IR-89603
  • METIS-273841


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