Busy summer ahead

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Summer is really going to be busy, this year. But in a good way…

In June, I’ll be at our annual summer school in Florence. This year, we have a slight change in the line-up — Nicky has decided to take a break from teaching with us, which is a shame, (although I understand, as she’s so busy). On the other hand, I’m happy that Howard is joining us as part of the “faculty”. And, after last year’s absence, Mark will also return to Florence. In the past few days, I’ve got emails from people looking to register — we still have a few places available, though. The link for the registration through the UCL onlinestore is here.

The week after Florence, I’ll also be at the Conference of the Spanish Health Economics Association, where I’ve been invited to give a talk in a very interesting session and to teach in a pre-conference workshop, in which I will talk about methods for addressing missing data in health economic evaluation. This will heavily draw on the work we’ve done with Andrea, Rachael, Alexina and Mike Daniels.

But that’s not all we’re doing in the next few months. In July, we’ll have the second edition of the R for trial and model-based cost-effectiveness analysis workshop. Last year, despite our decision to organise a relatively low-key event, I think it was a success, with more participants we’d anticipated and quite nice talks and discussions. So we decided that we had to do it again. In fact, we’ve doubled on the effort and this year the programme consists of two days.

The first one (8th July), we’ll have a half-day short course on R for decision trees and Markov models. This is intended for beginners and modellers with relative experience of using R, particularly for cost-effectiveness analysis and health technology assessment in general. Howard and I will introduce relatively basic concepts (such as decision tree and Markov models) and their implementation in R. We’ll also show case the functionalities of BCEA for the post-processing of the outcome. But: we’ve not thougt only about the beginners… After Nathan and I discussed it when I went to Imperial to give a talk, a few weeks back, we agreed that we should also do something a bit fancier. And so, we’re also preparing a pre-workshop virtual code challenge (kind of a “hackathon”), on a problem set by our scientific committee. This will take place over Github and a Slack channel with participants encouraged to submit final R code solutions for peer review on efficiency, flexibility, elegance and transparency. Prizes will be provided for the best entry.

And finally, the main workshop will be on the 9th July. In addition to quite a few of us planning to, as usual, bang on about using proper statistical software and knock other tools off the table, this year we’re hoping to have people contributing talks on their experience about using R in HTA. We’ll also have a quick session on a project that some of us are trying to establish within several “institutional” and “industrial” channels to improve the acceptance of models based on R for HTA.

For simplicity, we’ve set up two different registration links. The one for the short course is here, while registration for the main event can be made here.

Interestingly, before we even went live with advert and websites, I already received one registration for both events… Now, that’s somebody who’s committed!

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