Result card

  • ECO6: What is the appropriate time horizon?

What is the appropriate time horizon?

Authors: Principal Investigators: Anna-Theresa Renner, Ingrid Rosian-Schikuta, Investigators: Nika Berlic, Neill Booth, Valentina Prevolnik Rupel

Internal reviewers: Pseudo178 Pseudo178, Pseudo283 Pseudo283, Pseudo291 Pseudo291, Pseudo293 Pseudo293, Pseudo294 Pseudo294, Pseudo297 Pseudo297, Pseudo298 Pseudo298

The systematic review of the literature, outlined in the domain methodology –section, was used to form the description of the time horizons used in the studies found (see tableStudy designs and results” in Appendix). The appropriateness of the time horizon relates to three main considerations:

  1. the extent to which a study can be considered comparable to other studies on the same topic
  2. data availability and decision-making context
  3. the discount rate

In studies of technologies with a potential for life-long consequences, the time horizon of cost-effectiveness analysis would ideally be over the remaining lifetime. However, the relevant time horizon will also depend on the availability of appropriate data, as well as on the availability of appropriate statistical or mathematical models, in order to estimate costs and outcomes. In the cost-effectiveness studies located, the majority use a time period over which most of the significant economic and health consequences of the intervention could become apparent. In order to do this, they invariably link intermediate endpoints to final endpoints and/or extrapolate evidence on effectiveness. One approach when undertaking an economic evaluation with a time horizon of the remaining lifetime of the modelled cohort, is that costs and effects can be measured alongside a trial and then, when appropriate, be extrapolated using modelling (e.g., by synthesizing trial-based information with information on costs and effects from other studies).


Although some of these models may not describe reality with full face validity, they may be able to offer a useful method of making relative cost-effectiveness comparisons between different screening modalities.

The main differences and similarities between the studies with respect to the stated time horizons and discount rate(s) can be found from the Appendix (see table “Study designs and results”). 

Renner P et al. Result Card ECO6 In: Renner P et al. Costs and economic evaluation In: Jefferson T, Cerbo M, Vicari N [eds.]. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT ) versus guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (FOBT) for colorectal cancer screening [Core HTA], Agenas - Agenzia nazionale per i servizi sanitari regionali; 2014. [cited 21 June 2021]. Available from: