Methods: A systematic review was conducted (PUBMED, NHS EED) in order to identify relevant articles published between January 1990 and January 2006. In addition searches were conducted on websites of HTA organizations (NICE, CCOHTA, SBU) and the Harvard CEA registry. Articles were reviewed (editorials, letters and discussions were excluded) and those not containing utilities excluded. Authors were contacted when this information was unclear in the article. Results were assessed on the scientific quality of the elicitation studies; their relevance to the UK HTA environment; and on coverage of the states in the proposed model.
Results: 68 articles were identified of which 29 were included. The largest numbers of studies were found in Canada (12), the US (8), and the Netherlands (4). Utilities were identified for all/most of the necessary states, but scores for individual states differed widely between studies and very few studies met our quality criteria. Only one study was judged to be directly relevant to the UK HTA environment.
Conclusion: No single study provided a set of utilities meeting the criteria of quality, relevance and comprehensiveness. A set of UK-relevant utilities can be assembled from several sources but must be used with caution. Further empirical research is needed to produce more reliable utilities for economic modelling in the UK, especially in chronic renal disease.