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Guidelines for Writing a Health Economics and Outcomes Research Studies

Guidelines for Writing a Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) Studies

What is the Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) Study?

Health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) study is an important tool in the hand of decision-makers. Various options are available to treat a patient. It is quite difficult to identify all the pros and cons of a treatment regimen. This includes a comparison of the cost of treatment vis-a-vis the outcome of the treatment. Sometimes the cost or the outcome is hard to measure. HEOR studies help decision-makers in choosing an effective treatment regimen.

HEOR studies incorporate various aspects related to both economics and outcomes involved in treatment. It provides a comprehensive insight into the treatment-cost analysis, economic endpoints of clinical trials, quality of life of the patient, clinical epidemiology, literature review, and treatment pattern analysis.

Following are the types of outcomes that are determined under HEOR studies:

Economic outcome: This outcome measures the cost involved during the period of treatment. In some cases, the cost is quite hard to measure. This outcome measure optimum utilization of resources, the burden of illness, productivity, and cost-effectiveness.

Clinical outcome: Clinical outcome is the effect of treatment on the patient. It studies the morbidity and mortality rate, effectiveness of treatment, and function.

Humanistic outcome: Humanistic outcome measures the improvement in the quality of life of the patient and the preferred treatment.

What are the Guidelines for Writing HEOR Studies?

Following are some of the guidelines for writing HEOR studies:

Make use of your skills: Leverage your skills in writing the study. Skills such as computer skills and writing skills may help improve the overall quality of the study. Previous experience of writing manuscripts, scientific background, and editing skills also helps you to come out with good quality research study.

Selection of journal: Selection of the journal, in which you wish to publish your study, should be done before you start writing the study. Different journals have different writing guidelines. Failure to follow the guidelines of the targeted journal may result in rejection or subsequent revision of the study.

Assemble your resources: You should know about the various resources that may help in writing HEOR studies. Some of the databases are BioModels Database, Gene Expression Omnibus, EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database, UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, Database of Interacting Proteins, Protein Data Bank, ArrayExpress, and

Improve your knowledge: If you want to write a few HEOR studies or want to make a career in writing such studies, you should improve your knowledge and writing skills. This can be done by attending the conferences and registering for short courses.

Write a detailed study report: The study should be written in detail. It includes all the aspects of the research question. Further, it should be written in such a language that is understandable to most of the target audiences. Try to avoid jargons and the complex matters should be written clearly and understandably.

Organize your manuscript: Manuscript should be carefully organized. The law of logical sequencing should be applied. The author should organize the manuscript according to the requirement of the journal. Most general require the manuscript in the sequence of abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Get help from professionals: If you are new to writing HEOR studies, get help from the people who are familiar with writing HEOR studies. These people may be professionals that are expert in writing and editing HEOR studies or them maybe someone in your group that has the experience of publishing such studies.

Make good use of tables and figures: Table and figures help the readers to quickly understand the important facts and findings. Effectively use tables and figures. However, stick to the number of tables and figures as given in the guidelines of the journal.

Stay away from grammatical errors: Grammatical error including the punctuation marks may change the meaning of the sentence. Poor grammar leads to an ambiguous understanding of the research paper. If you are not good at grammar, take help from the professionals or make use of good grammar software available.

Take care of nomenclature: Most journals have their style of nomenclature. They may require you to use the SI units, to write certain types of words such as the name of species in italics or to use INN of drugs. Stay within the ambit of guidelines while using nomenclature.

Review the study: This is the most important step to come up with a good quality HEOR study. Once you had finished writing the first draft, keep it for at least 10 days. After 10 days, take the manuscript and start a critical review. You would find that there are a lot more corrections than expected. Sometimes you reword the complete paragraph or reshuffle the headings.

Why there is Need for HEOR Studies?

HEOR study is an important tool in finding the efficacy of treatment vis-a-vis the cost employed in the treatment. HEOR fulfils the following needs:

  • Helps in designing treatment strategy taking cost into consideration
  • Helps in minimizing evidence gaps
  • Provide more authenticity to the data generated through Randomized controlled trials.
  • Identify changes and market and help the companies to respond to those changes

What are the Sources of Evidence in HEOR?

Following are some of the sources of evidence of HEOR:

  • Clinical trials including randomized control trials and pragmatic clinical trials.
  • Retrospective observational studies
  • Prospective observational studies
  • Post Marketing reports
  • Phase IV clinical trials
  • Systematic reviews
  • Meta-analyses
  • Patient’s Case studies
  • Real-world evidence
  • Clinical outcome assessments


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