Uncertainty and Risk in Decision Making

Decision making in health technology appraisal involves a significant degree of uncertainty as to the costs and benefits of the technology in question and the value of the expenditure displaced if it is approved. Based on his current research, Adrian Towse reviewed evidence at this seminar that suggests that decision makers react negatively to uncertainty about a technology’s costs and benefits and consider a range of potential theoretical justifications for this behaviour. His findings suggest that although risk aversion should be irrelevant or marginally important in HTA decision making, decision makers are responding to uncertainty too negatively.

The seminar discussants were:

  • Professor Ali McGuire from the London School of Economics, providing an academic perspective
  • Andrew Walker from the University of Glasgow/Scottish Medicines Consortium, providing the perspective of an advisor and observer of decision makers.

Adrian Towse is the Director of the Office of Health Economics. A visiting Senior Researcher at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, Adrian also has been a Visiting Professor at the University of York. For ten years, he served as the Non-executive Director of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the UK’s largest hospitals. Adrian is President of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), for the 2014-2015 term.

Thursday, 17 July 2014