Health interventions for patients can have effects on their carers too. For consistency, decision makers may wish to specify whether carer outcomes should be included. One example is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), whose reference case specifies that economic evaluations should include direct health effects for patients and carers where relevant. We aimed to review the methods used in including carer health-related quality of life (HRQL) in NICE appraisals.
We reviewed all published technology appraisals (TAs) and highly specialized technologies (HSTs) to identify those that included carer HRQL and discussed the methods and data sources.
Twelve of 414 TAs (3%) and 4 of 8 HSTs (50%) included carer HRQL in cost-utility analyses. Eight were for multiple sclerosis, the remainder were each in a unique disease area. Twelve of the 16 appraisals modeled carer HRQL as a function of the patient’s health state, 3 modeled carer HRQL as a function of the patient’s treatment, and 1 included family quality-adjusted life year (QALY) loss. They used 5 source studies: 2 compared carer EQ-5D scores with controls, 2 measured carer utility only (1 health utilities index and 1 EQ-5D), and 1 estimated family QALY loss from a child’s death. Two used disutility estimates not from the literature. Including carer HRQL increased the incremental QALYs and decreased incremental cost-effectiveness ratios in all cases.
The inclusion of carer HRQL in NICE appraisals is relatively uncommon and has been limited by data availability.
Becky M. Pennington