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Estimating the marginal value of 'better' research output: 'designed' versus 'routine' data in randomised controlled trials


  • David Cohen

    (School of Care Sciences, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd CF37 1DL, UK)

  • Mirella F Longo

    (School of Care Sciences, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd CF37 1DL, UK)

  • John Williams

    (Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Swansea Clinical School, University of Wales, Swansea, UK)

  • Wai-yee Cheung

    (Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Swansea Clinical School, University of Wales, Swansea, UK)

  • Hayley Hutchings

    (Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Swansea Clinical School, University of Wales, Swansea, UK)

  • I.T. Russell

    (Institute for Medical and Social Care, University of Wales, Bangor, UK)


We recently completed a study which demonstrated that the costs of health technology assessment (HTA) by randomised controlled trial (RCT) can be reduced by substituting routine datasets for data designed and collected specifically for a trial. This cost reduction, however, had the effect of reducing the quality of the research output. In the present study we attempted to tease out the values attached to the 'better' information provided by designed data RCTs using a mock grants committee. Two valuation techniques, implied values and willingness to pay, were used. Ex ante valuations were determined by comparing alternative research proposals - a more costly version using designed data and a cheaper version using routine data. Ex post valuations were determined by comparing results of both versions. The exercise was performed on four exemplar studies. Overall, the committee expressed a general lack of trust towards routine data both ex ante and ex post and placed high values on the better information from the designed data studies - particularly information on preferences. This suggests that currently available routine datasets are not perceived to be able to provide efficient alternatives to designed data for RCTs. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • David Cohen & Mirella F Longo & John Williams & Wai-yee Cheung & Hayley Hutchings & I.T. Russell, 2003. "Estimating the marginal value of 'better' research output: 'designed' versus 'routine' data in randomised controlled trials," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(11), pages 959-974.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:12:y:2003:i:11:p:959-974 DOI: 10.1002/hec.791

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    References listed on IDEAS

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