Estimating the Expected Value of Sample Information across Different Sample Sizes using Moment Matching and Non-Linear Regression


Background: The Expected Value of Sample Information (EVSI) determines the economic value of any future study with a specific design aimed at reducing uncertainty in a health economic model. This has potential as a tool for trial design; the cost and value of different designs could be compared to find the trial with the greatest net benefit. However, despite recent developments, EVSI analysis can be slow especially when optimising over a large number of different designs. Methods: This paper develops a method to reduce the computation time required to calculate the EVSI across different sample sizes. Our method extends the moment matching approach to EVSI estimation to optimise over different sample sizes for the underlying trial with a similar computational cost to a single EVSI estimate. This extension calculates posterior variances across the alternative sample sizes and then uses Bayesian non-linear regression to calculate the EVSI. Results: A health economic model developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions for chronic pain demonstrates that this EVSI calculation method is fast and accurate for realistic models. This example also highlights how different trial designs can be compared using the EVSI. Conclusion: The proposed estimation method is fast and accurate when calculating the EVSI across different sample sizes. This will allow researchers to realise the potential of using the EVSI to determine an economically optimal trial design for reducing uncertainty in health economic models. Limitations: Our method relies on some additional simulation, which can be expensive in models with very large computational cost.

Gianluca Baio
Gianluca Baio
Professor of Statistics and Health Economics