Network Meta Analysis Training

Practical Issues in Producing Network Meta-Analyses for HTA

Network Meta-Analysis Training

Indirect treatment comparisons (ITC) and mixed treatment comparisons (MTC), collectively referred to as Network Meta-Analysis (NMA), are increasingly used in health technology assessment. They are statistical techniques to synthesise available direct and indirect evidence to provide information on the comparative effectiveness and safety of a range of competing interventions.

Network meta-analyses are often complex and challenging projects to specify and undertake and bring with them a range of planning considerations that are critical for a successful end product. These considerations include specifying the review question, identifying relevant studies, deciding how to assess the similarity of studies in a potential network and developing the statistical analysis plan and using the Network Meta Analysis output in economic models.

This two day training session in Network Meta-Analysis is offered by our statisticians from Quantics and experienced reviewers from YHEC who we have collaborated together on many network meta-analyses to inform HTA submissions and market access planning exercises. The workshop is intended to offer project managers, research commissioners and others new to these techniques an introduction to the practical issues involved in commissioning and performing Network Meta Analyses. This training day does not involve coding with WinBUGS or other programming software.

Network Meta Analysis

Content Outline

By the end of the Network Meta-Analysis training, participants will have:

  • An understanding of the principles of Network Meta-Analysis;
  • An awareness of the issues to be considered when planning and conducting a Network Meta-Analysis;
  • An understanding of how Network Meta-Analysis s will be critically assessed.

Who should attend the Network Meta-Analysis training?

  • Project managers and research commissioners;
  • Researchers who are new to Network Meta-Analyses and wish to gain an understanding of the practical issues involved.

Training Day One

09:30 Welcome and introduction to the Network Meta Analysis training course
09:45 The context of Network Meta Analysis s in HTA
10:00 What are indirect and mixed treatment comparisons and Network Meta Analysis s
10:30 Planning the NMA and specifying the requirements for an Network Meta Analysis to ensure requests for proposals as well developed:
Question definition, searches, record selection, feasibility of networks,
11:00 Coffee
11:15 Planning the Network Meta Analysis continued
12:15 Group discussion on planning and specification of the Network Meta Analysis
12:30 Lunch
13:15 Searching for studies for ITC/MTC/NMA – how is this different to traditional SRs and how it can be optimised
14:00 Search exercise
14:30 Feasibility assessment – deciding which studies are suitable for inclusion in the Network Meta Analysis + description and reporting – multidisciplinary exercise
15:15 Coffee
15:45 Exercise: Considering study similarity using example data
16:30 Discussions and questions
16:45 Close

Training Day Two

09:30 Recap of day 1 and questions arising
09:45 Statistical aspects of ITC and MTC/Network Meta Analysis : Introduction
10:00 What are the different endpoints and analyses preferred by regulators?
11:00 Coffee
11:15 The life story of a Network Meta Analysis
11:45 The Network Meta Analysis and the economic model
12:30 Lunch
13:15 Critiquing a Network Meta Analysis
14:15 Exercise: critiquing a Network Meta Analysis
15:15 Coffee
15:30 Discussion of the exercise
16:00 Close

As part of our Network Meta-Analysis Training we will provide an introduction to network meta-analysis and its key assumptions, as well as how to plan a network meta-analysis.

Most network meta-analyses will consist of six key stages which will be covered in the training – developing the protocol, performing the systematic review, conducting the feasibility assessment, preparing the statistical analysis plan, running the analyses and reporting the results. Our Network Meta-Analysis training we will give a brief overview of each of these stages, and suggest strategies for ensuring that your network meta-analysis project goes smoothly.

We will discuss in the Network Meta-Analysis training how at the start of the project, you should consider the audience for your systematic review and network meta-analysis. If you are aiming to develop a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal, then it is important to make sure that your project is compatible with publication guidelines such as the PRISMA extension statement for network meta-analysis [1]. Likewise, if you are aiming to develop a submission for a specific health technology assessment (HTA) body, then you will need to consider their guidelines on systematic review and network meta-analysis.

The Network Meta-Analysis Training will help you come up with a reasonable estimate for how much time will be required to develop the protocol, perform the systematic review and conduct the feasibility assessment. However, it can be more difficult to estimate the time required to prepare the statistical analysis plan, network meta-analyses and report. Until the feasibility assessment is complete, the number of networks that are feasible and the nature of these networks is often unknown. This information is important for estimating the time required to prepare the statistical analysis plan and run the network meta-analyses. Hence, systematic review and network meta-analysis projects are often planned in two stages – the protocol, systematic review and feasibility assessment stage is planned up front, and the statistical analysis plan, network meta-analysis and reporting stage is planned once the feasibility assessment is complete.

If you would like any more information on the training content please get in touch.

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