Intended for healthcare professionals

Information In Practice Infopoints

NHS Economic Evaluation Database for healthcare decision makers

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 01 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:32
  1. John Nixon, research fellow in health economics (jn105{at},
  2. Boyka Stoykova, research fellow in health economics,
  3. Jimmy Christie, NHS EED database administrator,
  4. Julie Glanville, information service manager,
  5. Jos Kleijnen, director,
  6. Mike Drummond, director
  1. NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York YO10 5DD
  2. Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York YO10 5DD

    The increasing importance of information on cost effectiveness has been recognised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)1 and will be an integral part of new national guidelines for the NHS. Analyses of the literature on economic evaluations also reveal a rapid increase in the number of published studies.2 Having access to reliable information on the cost effectiveness of competing health technologies is therefore important to decision makers and researchers in the NHS.

    The NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) project is commissioned by the NHS Research and Development Programme to identify as many studies on economic evaluations in the literature as possible and to disseminate the principal findings to clinicians and other decision makers by means of structured and critical abstracts. The abstracts are freely accessible through a public database on the internet and also from the Cochrane Library. The aim of the project is to assist researchers and decision makers in identifying and interpreting economic evaluations, which are spread over many databases and paper based resources. The NHS EED website (available through provides details of how to search the database, how to use the inquiry desk of the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (the parent organisation of NHS EED), how to contact NHS EED staff, and other useful information. The database currently holds 1800 structured abstracts of full economic evaluations (cost effectiveness, cost utility, and cost benefit studies) and bibliographic details of 1953 cost studies, 649 reviews (of cost effectiveness), and 459 studies of methodology.

    NHS EED records show that hits on the database have increased over the past year from an average of 4000 a month in the first six months of 1999 to an average of more than 5000 a month in the last six months of 1999. Initial findings of focus group work in two NHS health authorities (North Yorkshire and Leicestershire) indicate that NHS EED abstracts are useful and can help in the process of identifying and interpreting economic evaluations. These findings indicate that NHS EED is a valuable tool to decision makers and is being used at a high and increasing rate.

    Abstracts are completed according to guidelines developed by leading health economists at the University of York in consultation with an international advisory group. To allow readers to evaluate the potential usefulness of NHS EED abstracts, we include an example, based on a study by Morrell,3 in an appendix on the BMJ website (



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