Measuring the concept of value in health care remains a significant challenge. Establishing the value of a health care decision entails recognizing many interrelated components, such as relative effectiveness, side effects and convenience. Each component is weighed differently from one person to another and its importance can vary depending on the circumstances. Value may vary based on individual characteristics, such as age or health status, and individuals who may share similar characteristics don’t always have the same view about an intervention’s value. How an individual values a treatment may also change at different points in his or her life.
As a part of its overall Value Assessment Initiative, the PhRMA Foundation has established the Value Assessment Challenge Awards to help promote leadership and innovative approaches to determining value in health care.
The Challenge Awards annually seek proposals from researchers that respond to a specific value-related question in health care. The 2019 Challenge Awards pose the following question:
What are innovative, patient-centered approaches to contribute to health care value assessment that move beyond the inherent limitations of analyses based on the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) metric?
Applicants for Challenge Awards are asked to submit papers that address this question. Recipients of Challenge Awards will be honored and asked to present their winning papers at a public forum in 2019. Awards will be given in the following amounts:
• The winner will receive $50,000
• The runner up will receive $25,000
• Third and fourth place will receive $5,000
The PhRMA Foundation will not support evaluations of specific health care interventions.
Letters of Intent to submit a paper are due March 15, 2019. Notification to proceed with full paper will be sent to finalists on April 1, 2019. The full paper submission deadline is May 1, 2019, and anticipated award notification is June 1, 2019. An event to showcase award winners is planned for the fall of 2019.
The PhRMA Foundation is committed to driving real change in health care delivery and recognizes the benefit of shared knowledge. Therefore, the Foundation will establish a Value Assessment Research Network to encourage collaboration and dissemination of findings borne out of the program.
Recipients of all PhRMA Foundation awards under the Value Assessment Initiative will become members of the Network and be asked to participate in periodic calls or in-person meetings to discuss and drive advancement in the field.
The PhRMA Foundation will host a public forum later in 2019 to highlight activities funded by this program. Awardees must be willing and available to present their winning papers at this forum.
Award recipients must be willing to participate in two workshops sponsored by the PhRMA Foundation in 2019 to discuss their research efforts with fellow award recipients.
Note: In an effort to broaden participation in this year’s Value Challenge question to new audiences, special consideration will be given to papers that approach the challenge question from the perspective of non-health care sector sources, individuals or organizations. Collaboration across stakeholder groups and fields of discipline is encouraged.
How to Apply
A PDF with detailed information about the Challenge Awards and the application process is available for download.
To learn about the recipients of the 2018 Value Assessment Challenge Awards, please click here.
For questions, please contact the PhRMA Foundation at 202-572-7756.
More Details About the Challenge Question
Cost-effectiveness analyses using the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) are the most commonly utilized approach to value assessment among health care researchers. While the QALY offers a tangible way to standardize comparisons across diseases, intrinsic challenges of the metric have hampered its broader adoption and utility. Since its adoption, the QALY has been criticized for significant methodological, contextual and ethical shortcomings. An underlying concern in using QALY-based cost-effectiveness analyses is the potential to interfere with individual choice or clinical needs by applying an aggregated, average value to a heterogeneous population. Common areas of criticism include, but are not limited to:
1. Heterogeneity: Inadequate reflection of patient differences in preferences and characteristics.
2. Scope: Limited capture of all dimensions of value that matter to patients, caregivers and society.
3. Ethics: Discrimination concerns against seniors and individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions.
4. Measurement: Sensitivity to the underlying tools and populations used to capture preferences.
There is more potential now than ever before to address these challenges and move beyond the QALY. In the 30 years since the QALY was first introduced, the practice of medicine has become increasingly personalized and more curative therapies for previously untreatable conditions are on the horizon. In addition, there have been significant advances in scientific innovation and ability to capture and utilize patient data.
Across the health care industry, there are numerous opportunities to improve value measurement, e.g. digital technology and the wealth of patient registry data, electronic medical records and patient-reported outcome measures. There is also an opportunity to learn from the experiences of fields outside of health economics and outcomes research that explicitly acknowledge the complexity and heterogeneity of human decision-making, such as operations research, management science, political science and psychology.