Health economic evaluations potentially provide valuable information to clinicians, health care administrators, and policy makers regarding the financial implications of decisions about the care of patients. The highest quality research should be used to inform decisions that have direct impact on the access to care and the outcome of treatment. However, economic analyses are often complex and use research methods which are relatively unfamiliar to clinicians. Furthermore, health economic data have substantial national, regional, and institutional variability, which can limit the external validity of the results of a study. Therefore, minimum guidelines that aim to standardise the quality and transparency of reporting health economic research have been developed, and instruments are available to assist in the assessment of its quality and the interpretation of results.
The purpose of this editorial is to discuss the principal types of health economic studies, to review the most common instruments for judging the quality of these studies and to describe current reporting guidelines. Recommendations for the submission of these types of studies toThe Bone & Joint Journalare provided.