Costing evidence for health care decision-making in Austria: A systematic review.
Mayer S., Kiss N., Łaszewska A., Simon J.
BACKGROUND: With rising healthcare costs comes an increasing demand for evidence-informed resource allocation using economic evaluations worldwide. Furthermore, standardization of costing and reporting methods both at international and national levels are imperative to make economic evaluations a valid tool for decision-making. The aim of this review is to assess the availability and consistency of costing evidence that could be used for decision-making in Austria. It describes systematically the current economic evaluation and costing studies landscape focusing on the applied costing methods and their reporting standards. Findings are discussed in terms of their likely impacts on evidence-based decision-making and potential suggestions for areas of development. METHODS: A systematic literature review of English and German language peer-reviewed as well as grey literature (2004-2015) was conducted to identify Austrian economic analyses. The databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, SSCI, EconLit, NHS EED and Scopus were searched. Publication and study characteristics, costing methods, reporting standards and valuation sources were systematically synthesised and assessed. RESULTS: A total of 93 studies were included. 87% were journal articles, 13% were reports. 41% of all studies were full economic evaluations, mostly cost-effectiveness analyses. Based on relevant standards the most commonly observed limitations were that 60% of the studies did not clearly state an analytical perspective, 25% of the studies did not provide the year of costing, 27% did not comprehensively list all valuation sources, and 38% did not report all applied unit costs. CONCLUSION: There are substantial inconsistencies in the costing methods and reporting standards in economic analyses in Austria, which may contribute to a low acceptance and lack of interest in economic evaluation-informed decision making. To improve comparability and quality of future studies, national costing guidelines should be updated with more specific methodological guidance and a national reference cost library should be set up to allow harmonisation of valuation methods.