THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
BACKGROUND: We report the development, validation, and implementation of an open-source population-based outcomes model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for Canada.
METHODS: Evaluation Platform in COPD (EPIC) is a discrete-event simulation model of Canadians 40 years of age or older. Three core features of EPIC are its open-population design (incorporating projections of future population growth, aging, and smoking trends), its incorporation of heterogeneity in lung function decline and burden of exacerbations, and its modeling of the natural history of COPD from inception. Multiple original data analyses, as well as values reported in the literature, were used to populate the model. Extensive face validity and internal and external validity evaluations were performed.
RESULTS: The model was internally validated on demographic projections, mortality rates, lung function trajectories, COPD exacerbations, costs and health state utility values, and stability of COPD prevalence over time within strata of risk factors. In external validation, it moderately overestimated the rate of overall exacerbations in 2 independent trials but generated consistent estimates of rate of severe exacerbations and mortality.
LIMITATIONS: In its current version, EPIC does not consider uncertainty in the evidence. Several components such as additional (e.g., environmental and occupational) risk factors, treatment, symptoms, and comorbidity will have to be added in future iterations. Predictive validity of EPIC needs to be examined prospectively against future empirical studies.
CONCLUSIONS: EPIC is the first multipurpose, open-source, outcome- and policy-focused model of COPD for Canada. Platforms of this type have the capacity to be iteratively updated to incorporate the latest evidence and to project the outcomes of many different scenarios within a consistent framework.
KEYWORDS: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cost-effectiveness analysis; disease simulation; epidemiological projection; whole-disease modeling