Addressing the need for translational health economics: outline of a research program

Wolf Rogowski

Date: 8 July, 10.00-11.00 hrs

Location: University of Twente, building Ravelijn, room RA1315 (VIP room)

“Translational medicine” has become an omnipresent term in the medical literature with highly positive connotations. However, investments in translation also consume scarce public or private resources which should be spent efficiently. Translational health economics (THE) is a research program within economics. It involves using health economic methods to support the cooperative process of translational medicine. This includes, first, identifying and operationalizing shared aims for allocating scarce resources to medical innovations; second, analyzing information needs and (mis)aligned incentives in the processes of selecting and developing research findings to promote these aims; and third, selecting and further developing health economic methods to decrease problems of information and motivation in the process of translational medicine. More briefly, THE can be defined as the use of health economic methods to bridge the gap between the decision to fund a new health technology (the back end of translational medicine) and the decision to invest into its development (the front end of translational medicine). Relevant theoretical frameworks include theories of value in normative economics and new institution economics to analyze incentives and information asymmetries. Relevant empirical approaches include decision-analytic modelling, methods of belief and preference elicitation, and econometric analysis of routine data to validate value propositions from early models.

The presentation reports work in progress on an encyclopedia article on THE by Wolf Rogowski and Maarten Ijzerman in the World Scientific Handbook of Global Health Economics and Public Policy (edited by Richard Scheffler). A tentative research program of translational health economics is outlined for discussion.

Wolf Rogowski (Helmholtz Center Munich, Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management , Germany)

Wolf is a health economist at the Helmholtz Center Munich, Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management in Germany. Since August 2009, he heads the institute’s research unit “Translational Health Economics”. He holds a Ph.D. from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich and has held visiting fellowships at the Centre of Health Economics at the University of York (UK), the Hastings Center in Garrison, New York (USA) and the Harvard

School of Public Health, Boston (USA). Wolf explores the process of translational medicine from a health economics perspective. This includes: the application of cost-effectiveness and value of information analysis to new health technologies; the empirical and theoretical assessment of methods and procedures applied in decision making; and the development of instruments for decision support. He has a particular interest in the intersection of ethics and economics in medical innovation. Focusing on genetic testing and personalized medicine, Wolf serves as a member of the European Society for Human Genetics’ Professional and Public Policy Committee and the scientific advisory board of the Journal of Community Genetics. He teaches health economics, health systems analysis and health care business planning at the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.