Developing Open-Source Models for the US Health System: Practical Experiences and Challenges to Date with the Open-Source Value Project

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The Innovation and Value Initiative started the Open-Source Value Project with the aim to improve the credibility and relevance of model-based value assessment in the context of the US healthcare environment. As a core activity of the Open-Source Value Project, the Innovation and Value Initiative develops and provides access to flexible open-source economic models that are developed iteratively based on public feedback and input. In this article, we describe our experience to date with the development of two currently released, Open-Source Value Project models, one in rheumatoid arthritis and one in epidermal growth factor receptor-positive non-small-cell lung cancer. We developed both Open-Source Value Project models using the statistical programming language R instead of spreadsheet software (i.e., Excel), which allows the models to capture multiple model structures, model sequential treatment with individual patient simulations, and improve integration with formal evidence synthesis. By developing the models in R, we were also able to use version control systems to manage changes to the source code, which is needed for iterative and collaborative model development. Similarly, Open-Source Value Project models are freely available to the public to provide maximum transparency and facilitate collaboration. Development of the rheumatoid arthritis and non-small-cell lung cancer model platforms has presented multiple challenges. The development of multiple components of the model platform tailored to different audiences, including web interfaces, required more resources than a cost-effectiveness analysis for a publication would. Furthermore, we faced methodological hurdles, in particular related to the incorporation of multiple competing model structures and novel elements of value. The iterative development based on public feedback also posed some challenges during the review phase, where methodological experts did not always understand feedback from clinicians and vice versa. Response to the Open-Source Value Project by the modeling community and patient organizations has been positive, but feedback from US decision makers has been limited to date. As we progress with this project, we hope to learn more about the feasibility, benefits, and challenges of an open-source and collaborative approach to model development for value assessment.




Jansen, J. P., Incerti, D., & Linthicum, M. T. (2019). Developing Open-Source Models for the US Health System: Practical Experiences and Challenges to Date with the Open-Source Value Project. PharmacoEconomics, 37(11), 1313–1320.

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