Economic evaluations of artificial intelligence-based healthcare interventions: a systematic literature review of best practices in their conduct and reporting
Objectives: Health economic evaluations (HEEs) help healthcare decision makers understand the value of new technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in healthcare interventions. We sought to review the conduct and reporting of published HEEs for AI-based health interventions. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review with a 15-month search window (April 2021 to June 2022) on 17 th June 2022 to identify HEEs of AI health interventions and update a previous review. Records were identified from 3 databases (Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central). Two reviewers screened papers against predefined study selection criteria. Data were extracted from included studies using prespecified data extraction tables. Included studies were quality assessed using the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) checklist. Results were synthesized narratively. Results: A total of 21 studies were included. The most common type of AI intervention was automated image analysis (9/21, 43%) mainly used for screening or diagnosis in general medicine and oncology. Nearly all were cost-utility (10/21, 48%) or cost-effectiveness analyses (8/21, 38%) that took a healthcare system or payer perspective. Decision-analytic models were used in 16/21 (76%) studies, mostly Markov models and decision trees. Three (3/16, 19%) used a short-term decision tree followed by a longer-term Markov component. Thirteen studies (13/21, 62%) reported the AI intervention to be cost effective or dominant. Limitations tended to result from the input data, authorship conflicts of interest, and a lack of transparent reporting, especially regarding the AI nature of the intervention. Conclusion: Published HEEs of AI-based health interventions are rapidly increasing in number. Despite the potentially innovative nature of AI, most have used traditional methods like Markov models or decision trees. Most attempted to assess the impact on quality of life to present the cost per QALY gained. However, studies have not been comprehensively reported. Specific reporting standards for the economic evaluation of AI interventions would help improve transparency and promote their usefulness for decision making. This is fundamental for reimbursement decisions, which in turn will generate the necessary data to develop flexible models better suited to capturing the potentially dynamic nature of AI interventions.