Messages from the ISPOR Presidents
Lieven Annemans, MSc, PhD
2004-2005 ISPOR President
Ghent University, HEDM-IMS,
I would like to thank the ISPOR members for their interest in ISPOR and its Meetings. This has been an excellent year for ISPOR as is evident by our 30% growth in membership. A special thank you to Marilyn Dix Smith and the ISPOR staff for a great year!
I first would like to start with our mission because, maybe, not many people know this by heart: our mission is to translate pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research into practice, to insure that society allocates scarce health care resources wisely, fairly, and efficiently. Let us first focus on the terms “pharmacoeconomics” and “outcomes research”. There is “pharma” of course, but it is not only “pharma”; our field of activity is much wider, as expressed by the term “outcomes research”. Some people even have a problem with the “P” in ISPOR because this focuses too much on “pharma”. And since we conduct research regarding medical devices, diagnostics, and more, there is clearly more than just “pharma”. Secondly, there is a strong focus on application in practice, which is of key importance, because there is no use conducting research when our audience of policy and decision makers cannot apply the results in practice. And finally, we are not only talking about efficiency, but we also use the words “wise” and “fair”, which emphasizes the equity aspect in the work that we have to do. The ISPOR Vision 2010 committee came up with a vision last year on where we want to be in 2010. Basically we could translate those ideas into four strategic rules: Firstly, we have to foster excellent research. Secondly, we have to reach out to decision makers (and embrace medical device and biotech professionals). Thirdly, to become truly international, ISPOR has to involve Asia, Latin America, Central Europe, and people from other countries to become part of ISPOR and to share with them all of our developments. And finally, ISPOR needs to educate and to reinforce the skills for our members and nonmembers. These are the four strategic goals. They are all starting with an “R”, which facilitates everybody to remember what they are about. So with regard to a name, we have plenty of choice for the “R”: research, regional development, reaching out, and reinforcing the skills to reach our strategic goals.
Did we make progress? Did we succeed in what we were planning to do this year with those 4 strategic roles? We installed a Vision 2010 Implementation Task Force. Their task will not only be to implement the vision, but also to monitor the progress at each point in time. This Task Force should have the task to look at what is ongoing, to see if our actions are meeting the goals, and to which extent are they meeting the goals.
What has happened this year? With regard to research, we have a Health Science Policy Council that was initiated last year, but this year they identified six key research issues that need to be addressed. ISPOR Task Forces are now addressing several of these issues. We have the ISPOR Using Real World Data in Coverage and Reimbursement Decisions Task Force, co-chaired by Peter Neumann and Lou Garrison. We have an Abstract Quality Assurance Task Force to improve the quality of our abstracts, chaired by Seema Sonnad PhD. We have a Budget Impact Task Force for developing good research practices for budget impact analysis, chaired by Josephine Mauskopf PhD, and Sean Sullivan PhD. The Quality of Life Special Interest Group's Crosscultural Adaptation Working Group, chaired by Diane Wild MSc, published its report on the good research practices for translation and cultural adaptation process for patient-reported outcomes in Value in Health and the RCT-CEA Task Force chaired by Scott Ramsey MD, PhD, and Richard Willke PhD is publishing its report, Good Research Practices for Cost-effectiveness Analysis alongside Clinical Trials in Value in Health. All of the ISPOR Good Research Practices Reports are at the ISPOR website under Research Practices tab at http://www.ispor.org/workpaper/practices_index.asp. With regard to regional development, the ISPOR Asia Consortium was formed. This group has initiated the 2nd ISPOR Asia-Pacific Conference which will take place in Shanghai, China, March 2006. This year we had several new regional and student chapters within ISPOR. Finally, with regard to education, we have created the ISPOR Research Digest where you can find over 5000 ISPOR contributed research abstracts and many contributed research presentations. We have a PE Guidelines Around the World at the ISPOR website, which is an overview and comparison of pharmacoeconomics guidelines from over 27 countries. Also the ISPOR Distance Learning Program, which presently consists of 44 modules on pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research topics, was launched. There is clearly progress on these different fields, so more and more it is a very good thing to be part of ISPOR.
There are also opportunities. Opportunities are a nice way to say "Where we need improvement". We still need to improve the quality of contributed research and workshop presentations. ISPOR should also organize dedicated symposia. For example, we know there are many problems with the QALY concept; so let's organize a symposium that is only dedicated to QALYs with the best experts in the world on this issue and try to improve in that regard. We also should stimulate more non-US chapters; so again, the regional development even has to go faster. And finally, we need to reach out to decision-makers. The challenge for the near future is to improve how we communicate with them. In all our activities, we have to think Practice, Patient, Payer, or Policyoriented.
So, as a final note, perhaps we have the solution for the "P" in ISPOR?