Authors: Teljeur C, Moran P, Harrington P, Ryan M
Value Health. 2017 Jul - Aug;20(7):1000-1002
A review of the Health Information and Quality Authority's (HIQA) assessment of breast cancer surveillance cancer criticized how the results were presented and interpreted. The health technology assessment (HTA) investigated surveillance options for women aged less than 50 years who were at elevated risk of breast cancer. Surveillance strategies using digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, or a combination of the two modalities were modeled on the basis of diagnostic test accuracy. The HTA faced a number of issues, including the use of diagnostic test accuracy as a surrogate for long-term outcomes; modeling interventions that were not considered acceptable to clinicians; and extrapolating for screening intervals and age ranges not directly supported by available evidence. The evaluation of screening programs gives rise to challenges in terms of balancing an adequate exploration of the possible options while also being cognizant of what is appropriately supported by evidence. In this article, the authors of the HIQA report discuss the challenges posed by this particular HTA.