Accurate resource-use measurement is challenging within an economic evaluation, but is a fundamental requirement for estimating efficiency. Considerable research effort has been concentrated on the appropriate measurement of outcomes and the policy implications of economic evaluation, while methods for resource-use measurement have been relatively neglected. Recently, the Database of Instruments for Resource Use Measurement (DIRUM) was set up at http://www.dirum.org to provide a repository where researchers can share resource-use measures and methods. A workshop to discuss the issues was held at the University of Birmingham in October 2011. Based on material presented at the workshop, this article highlights the state of the art of UK instruments for resource-use data collection based on patient recall. We consider methodological issues in the design and analysis of resource-use instruments, and the challenges associated with designing new questionnaires. We suggest a method of developing a good practice guideline, and identify some areas for future research. Consensus amongst health economists has yet to be reached on many aspects of resource-use measurement. We argue that researchers should now afford costing methodologies the same attention as outcome measurement, and we hope that this Current Opinion article will stimulate a debate on methods of resource-use data collection and establish a research agenda to improve the precision and accuracy of resource-use estimates.
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