Enhancing the evidence base for cost-effectiveness analysis in Ireland: Building improvements from the intervention-specific to system-wide levels

The objective of this research is to increase the relevance and reliability of health economic evidence in Ireland. The aim is to improve the methods for prioritising scarce health funding to the most beneficial uses.

This research will translate valuable lessons learnt from cervical cancer prevention to screening for other cancers, including breast, colorectal and lung. This will focus on models used to anticipate what types and intensities of cancer screening work best. In particular, the research will identify simple pitfalls in health economic modelling and show how to avoid them. This will be complemented by a specific focus on Irish cervical screening by matching real world data from Ireland's screening programme to models to check that simulations correspond with reality. The research will also use evidence of healthcare services that are currently subject to long waiting lists in Ireland to determine the fair price to pay for new services. This stems from the logic that it is not rational to devote large funding allocations to expensive new interventions if good value services currently remain under-funded.

Expected outcome of this research will be clear guidance to ensure that models provide representative estimates of value for money, including specific evidence on Irish cervical screening services. It will provide a proper evidenced-based framework for deciding the benchmark of good value for money in health spending.

The benefits of this work will be improved cancer screening that provides the right balance of benefits to screened individuals and the needs of others in the health system. Greater clarity on what is the appropriate measure of value for money should reduce waiting lists for current services and provide more balanced access to resources between new and existing services. This will ensure that Irish health spending actually leads to an overall improvement in population health.


Award Date
03 July 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr James O'Mahony
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Emerging Investigator Awards