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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Seminar Archives

On this page you can find information about seminars in this and previous academic years, where available on the database.

Statistics Seminars: Bayesian Methods, Health Technology Assessments and Decision Making: A view from the coalface

Presented by Cathal Walsh, Trinity College Dublin

17 March 2009 16:30 in CM101

The use of complex models in evaluating health care interventions is becoming more common. One coherent framework in which we can consider these models is that of Bayesian inference. In Ireland, the introduction of HTAs is a recent phenomenon. The first of these to be undertaken under the auspices of HIQA, the relevant Irish body for this work, was on a proposed scheme of vaccination against HPV - the 'Cervical Cancer Vaccine.' The work itself was carried out with very tight timelines and made use of an international team of collaborators. In this presentation we discuss the practical aspects of our evaluation. These include how we combined information from the outputs of a number of quantitative models, how we populated the decision space, and how we dealt with the associated uncertainties. In the UK the QALY, ICER thresholds and a formal process dominates. However, in Ireland a different decision making process applies and it is instructive to explore this from the perspective of a (Bayesian) statistician. Are the approaches similar from a decision theoretic perspective? Is one better than the other? Can we resolve the political challenges posed by 'QALYs' considered across interventions in our quantitative framework? A copy of the HTA itself is available from

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