Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Reprocessing data to form QALYs.

British Medical Journal 1992; 305 doi: (Published 11 July 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;305:87
  1. J. Coast
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, University of Bristol.


    OBJECTIVES--To determine whether reprocessing data from published sources into quality adjusted life years (QALYs), as recommended in The QALY Toolkit, is a useful method of helping purchasing authorities to determine the most cost effective pattern of care to buy for their populations. SETTING--United Kingdom. DESIGN--The method was tested for six elective surgical conditions; data from published studies were reprocessed into the Rosser index, to obtain values for change in quality of life. These were then used to form QALYs. A small validation exercise was carried out. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--QALYs formed from the Rosser index. RESULTS--Published data could not be found for three interventions (cataract surgery, inguinal hernia repair, varicose vein surgery). For the remainder (prostatectomy, hip replacement, and knee replacement) data were found which could be reprocessed to form QALYs, though it was often hard to compare data from different studies and many assumptions had to be made. CONCLUSION--The value of QALY results obtained by this method is questionable, given the large number of assumptions which had to be made. For many interventions published data are unlikely to be available.