THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Research Theme Methodology
Need for speed: an efficient algorithm for calculation of single-parameter expected value of partial perfect information
BACKGROUND: The expected value of partial perfect information (EVPPI) is a theoretically justifiable and informative measure of uncertainty in decision-analytic cost-effectiveness models, but its calculation is computationally intensive because it generally requires two-level Monte Carlo simulation. We introduce an efficient, one-level simulation method for the calculation of single-parameter EVPPI. OBJECTIVE: We show that under mild regularity assumptions, the expectation-maximization-expectation sequence in EVPPI calculation can be transformed into an expectation-maximization-maximization sequence. By doing so, calculations can be performed in a single-step expectation by using data generated for probabilistic sensitivity analysis. We prove that the proposed estimator of EVPPI converges in probability to the true EVPPI. METHODS AND RESULTS: The performance of the new method was empirically demonstrated by using three exemplary decision models. Our proposed method seems to achieve remarkably higher accuracy than the two-level method with a fraction of its computation costs, though the achievement in accuracy was not uniform and varied across the parameters of the models. Software is provided to calculate single-parameter EVPPI based on the probabilistic sensitivity analysis data. CONCLUSIONS: The new method, though applicable only to single-parameter EVPPI, is fast, accurate, and easy to implement. Further research is needed to evaluate the performance of this method in more complex scenarios and to extend such a concept to similar measures of decision uncertainty.