Methodological Issues in Assessing the Economic Value of Next-Generation Sequencing Tests: Many Challenges and Not Enough Solutions

Date Published:

2018 09


BACKGROUND: Clinical use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) tests has been increasing, but few studies have examined their economic value. Several studies have noted that there are methodological challenges to conducting economic evaluations of NGS tests. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to examine key methodological challenges for conducting economic evaluations of NGS tests, prioritize these challenges for future research, and identify how studies have attempted solutions to address these challenges. METHODS: We identified challenges for economic evaluations of NGS tests using prior literature and expert judgment of the co-authors. We used a modified Delphi assessment to prioritize challenges, based on importance and probability of resolution. Using a structured literature review and article extraction we then assessed whether published economic evaluations had addressed these challenges. RESULTS: We identified 11 challenges for conducting economic evaluations of NGS tests. The experts identified three challenges as the top priorities for future research: complex model structure, timeframe, and type of analysis and comparators used. Of the 15 published studies included in our literature review, four studies described specific solutions relevant to five of the 11 identified challenges. CONCLUSIONS: Major methodological challenges to economic evaluations of NGS tests remain to be addressed. Our results can be used to guide future research and inform decision-makers on how to prioritize research on the economic assessment of NGS tests.