NOAHE News is Good News vol. 2

Welcome to the 2nd NOAHE News is Good News update! If you have information you wish to share with NOAHE members, email us at THANK YOU to all of you for your interest, for attending NOAHE events, and for your support!

Upcoming Events:

Health Economics and Policy Podcast Series

The University of Calgary ISPOR student chapter is aiding in bringing awareness of the role of health economics and policy in healthcare decision-making.

Measurement of Health-Related Quality of Life

Dr Fatima Al Sayah profile pictureDr. Fatima Al Sayah is a research associate with the Alliance for Canadian Health Outcomes Research in Diabetes (ACHORD), School of Public Health, University of Alberta; and Research Manager of Alberta PROMS and EQ-5D Research and Support Unit (APERSU).

In this podcast, Dr. Al Sayah explains the measurement of health-related quality of life and how it connects to the calculation of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), which are used in the economic evaluation of health technologies.

NOAHE Evidence Into Practice Series II

Session 3: Economic Evaluation in Mental Health

Phil Jacobs profile pictureSpeaker: Dr. Philip Jacobs, Director of Research Collaborations, Institute of Health Economics
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Event Live Stream


NOAHE Health Economics and Technology Assessment Rounds

NOAHE’s Health Economics and Technology Assessment Rounds – Next Up!
Date: March 21st, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM MST
Location: Edmonton, AB
Topic: “Developing technologies that we can’t afford: can value-based pricing help?”
Presenters: Dr. Chris McCabe, Institute of Health Economics, and Dr. Mike Paulden, University of Alberta
Weblink to attend:

*NEW* Health Economics and Technology Assessment Rounds Dates Added!
NOAHE is pleased to announce the addition of two new speakers this April. Please join us as we welcome Dr. Watson and Dr. Schulz.

  • April 4th, 2018 - Dr. Verity Watson, University of Aberdeen
  • April 5th, 2018 - Dr. Rainer Schulz, University of Aberdeen

DYK: The first NOAHE Health Economics and Technology Assessment Round was viewed by
approximately 92 people, including international audiences - some as far abroad as Egypt?

Alberta Health Economics Study Group 2018

Save the date! Preliminary details regarding the Alberta Health Economic Study Group 2018 have been posted.

Alberta Health Economics Study Group 2018

Have an event? Need to spread the word? We might be able to help! Email us at

NOAHE Health Economics Graduate (Internship) and Scholar (Fellowship) Awards 2018

Fellowships, Internships, Scholarships, and Grants

The Institute of Health Economics (IHE), in partnership with health economists from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, and Alberta Health, is working collaboratively to create new internship and fellowship opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in health economics. Here is an update on various award winners, as well as information on upcoming awards!

Other Opportunities

Is your organization looking to take on a health economics intern and/or fellow? Do you support health economics students with scholarships and/or grants? Need some help getting the word out? We would be happy to help! Email us at!

Showcased Publications on!

Publications imageNOAHE proudly showcases work from its Health Economist Members – on our website and via social media (@NetworkofABHE)! Here are the last three publications showcased. New publications shared every week! Want to showcase your work? Email us at!

Please note: The publications listed on this page serve to showcase the work of our individual members only, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Network of Alberta Health Economists (NOAHE), NOAHE Members, and/or NOAHE funders.

Showcased Publications by NOAHE Members

"What Goes Around Comes Around": Lessons Learned from Economic Evaluations of Personalized Medicine Applied to Digital Medicine
The growth of "big data" and the emphasis on patient-centered health care have led to the increasing use of two key technologies: personalized medicine and digital medicine. For these technologies to move into mainstream health care and be reimbursed by insurers, it will be essential to have evidence that their benefits provide reasonable value relative to their costs. These technologies, however, have complex characteristics that present challenges to the assessment of their economic value. Previous studies have identified the challenges for personalized medicine and thus this work informs the more nascent topic of digital medicine.
Authors: Phillips KA, Douglas MP, Trosman JR, Marshall DA
Publication Date: January 2017

Acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology Among Dementia Clients and Family Caregivers
The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptance of Global Positioning System (GPS) used to help people with dementia, who are at risk for wandering in their communities. We used a mixed methods research approach that included use logs, pre and post paper-based questionnaires, and focus groups. Forty-five client-caregiver pairs (dyads) were included to use one of the GPS devices for an average of 5.8 months over a 1-year period. GPS acceptance was high; dyads were likely to continue using the GPS. According to the participants, the GPS provided caregivers peace of mind and reduced anxiety in dyads when clients got lost.
Authors: Lili Liu, Antonio Miguel Cruz, Tracy Ruptash, Shannon Barnard & Don Juzwishin
Publication Date: January 2017

A Systematic Review of Fatalities Related to Acute Ingestion of Salt. A Need for Warning Labels?
There are sporadic cases of fatalities from acutely eating salt. Yet, on social media, there are “challenges to” and examples of children and some adults acutely eating salt, and recently a charity advocated eating small amounts of salt to empathize with Syrian refugees. We performed a systematic review of fatalities from ingesting salt to assess if relatively moderate doses of salt could be fatal. In 27 reports, there were 35 fatalities documented (19 in adults and 16 in children). The lethal dose was estimated to be less than 10 g of sodium (<5 teaspoons of salt) in two children, and less than 25 g sodium in four adults (<4 tablespoons of salt). The frequency of fatal ingestion of salt is not able to be discerned from our review. If investigation of the causes of hypernatremia in hospital records indicates salt overdose is relatively common, consideration could be given to placing warning labels on salt containers and shakers. Such warning labels can have the added advantage of reducing dietary salt consumption.
Authors: Norm R. C. Campbell, Emma J. Train
Publication Date: June 2017

Quality of Acute Myocardial Infarction Care in Canada: A 10-Year Review of 30-Day In-Hospital Mortality and 30-Day Hospital Readmission
The recently released Canadian cardiac care quality indicators include 30-day in-hospital mortality and readmission rates after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). We examined long-term trends and provincial variations in these outcomes among acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.
Authors: Tran DT, Welsh RC, Ohinmaa A, Thanh NX, Bagai A, Kaul P
Publication Date: October 2017

Estimating Preferences for Complex Health Technologies: Lessons Learned and Implications for Personalized Medicine
We examine key study design challenges of using stated-preference methods to estimate the value of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a specific example of genomic testing. Assessing the value of WGS is complex because WGS provides multiple findings, some of which can be incidental in nature and unrelated to the specific health concerns that motivated the test. In addition, WGS results can include actionable findings (variants considered to be clinically useful and can be acted on), findings for which evidence for best clinical action is not available (variants considered clinically valid but do not meet as high of a standard for clinical usefulness), and findings of unknown significance. We consider three key challenges encountered in designing our national study on the value of WGS-layers of uncertainty, potential downstream consequences with endogenous aspects, and both positive and negative utility associated with testing information-and potential solutions as strategies to address these challenges. We conceptualized the decision to acquire WGS information as a series of sequential choices that are resolved separately. To determine the value of WGS information at the initial decision to undergo WGS, we used contingent valuation questions, and to elicit respondent preferences for reducing risks of health problems and the consequences of taking the steps to reduce these risks, we used a discrete-choice experiment. We conclude by considering the implications for evaluating the value of other complex health technologies that involve multiple forms of uncertainty.
Authors: Marshall DA, Gonzalez JM, MacDonald KV, Johnson FR.
Publication Date: January 2017

Determinants of Change in the Cost-effectiveness Threshold
The cost-effectiveness threshold in health care systems with a constrained budget should be determined by the cost-effectiveness of displacing health care services to fund new interventions. Using comparative statics, we review some potential determinants of the threshold, including the budget for health care, the demand for existing health care interventions, the technical efficiency of existing interventions, and the development of new health technologies. We consider the anticipated direction of impact that would affect the threshold following a change in each of these determinants. Where the health care system is technically efficient, an increase in the health care budget unambiguously raises the threshold, whereas an increase in the demand for existing, non-marginal health interventions unambiguously lowers the threshold. Improvements in the technical efficiency of existing interventions may raise or lower the threshold, depending on the cause of the improvement in efficiency, whether the intervention is already funded, and, if so, whether it is marginal. New technologies may also raise or lower the threshold, depending on whether the new technology is a substitute for an existing technology and, again, whether the existing technology is marginal. Our analysis permits health economists and decision makers to assess if and in what direction the threshold may change over time. This matters, as threshold changes impact the cost-effectiveness of interventions that require decisions now but have costs and effects that fall in future periods.
Authors: Mike Paulden, MSc; James O’Mahony, PhD; Christopher McCabe, PhD
Publication Date: August 2016

The Economic Contribution of Industry-Sponsored Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials
In pharmaceutical clinical trials, industrial sponsors pay for study drugs and related healthcare services. We conducted a study to determine industry’s economic contribution of these trials to the Alberta healthcare system.
Author: Dat T Tran, Ilke Akpinar, Richard Fedorak, Egon Jonsson, John Mackey, Lawrence Richer, Philip Jacobs
Publication Date: 2017

Economic Evaluation of Interventions for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Opportunities and Challenges
Economic evaluation is a tool used to inform decision makers on the efficiency of comparative healthcare interventions and inform resource allocation decisions. There is a growing need for the use of economic evaluations to assess the value of interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), a population that has increasing demands for healthcare services. Unfortunately, few evaluations have been conducted to date, perhaps stemming from challenges in applying existing economic evaluation methodologies in this heterogeneous population. Opportunities exist to innovate methods to address key challenges in conducting economic evaluations of interventions for children with NDDs. In this paper, we discuss important considerations and highlight areas for future work. This includes the paucity of appropriate instruments for measuring outcomes meaningful to children with NDDs and their families, difficulties in the measurement of costs due to service utilization in a wide variety of sectors, complexities in the measurement of caregiver and family effects and considerations in estimating long-term productivity costs. Innovation and application of evaluation approaches in these areas will help inform decisions around whether the resources currently spent on interventions for children with NDDs represent good value for money, or whether greater benefits for children could be generated by spending money in other ways.
Author: Ramesh Lamsal, Jennifer D. Zwicker
Publication Date: August 2017

Bill C-30: who wins and who loses in Canada’s pharmaceutical patent battles?
Following lengthy negotiations with the European Union (EU), Canada enacted Bill C-30 to implement the ‘Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’ in 2016 [1]. A particularly important part of that legislation involved the treatment of pharmaceutical exclusivity and the process of litigation between patentees and generic firms. This paper reviews the likely impact of C-30 and its accompanying regulations on the pharmaceutical marketplace in Canada. There are two key changes, with other downstream effects. First, Canada has now implemented a system of ‘Certificates of Supplementary Protection’ (CSPs) that will provide for effective patent extension of up to 2 years for one qualifying patent for each product. Second, the legal process for generic firms to enter the market has been simplified.
Author: Aidan Hollis
Publication Date: October 2017

DYK: Did you know that NOAHE currently has 60 members and over 200 subscribers?

The Network of Alberta Health Economists was supported financially and in-kind by Alberta Health, through the Health Funding and Economics Capacity (HFEC) Grant. For more information please visit:

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