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OBJECTIVES: Health economics analysis plans (HEAPs) currently lack consistency, with uncertainty surrounding appropriate content. We aimed to develop a list of essential items that should be included in HEAPs for economic evaluations conducted alongside randomized trials. METHODS: A list of potential items for inclusion was developed by examining existing HEAPs. An electronic Delphi survey was conducted among professional health economists. Respondents were asked to rate potential items from 1 (least important) to 9 (most important), suggest additional items, and comment on proposed items (round 1). A second survey (round 2) was emailed to participants, including the participant's own scores from round 1 along with summary results from the whole panel; participants were asked to rerate each item. Consensus criteria for inclusion in the final list were predefined as >70% of participants rating an item 7-9 and <15% rating it 1-3 after round 2. A final item selection meeting was held to scrutinize the results and adjudicate on items lacking consensus. RESULTS: 62 participants completed round 1 of the survey. The initial list included 72 potential items; all 72 were carried forward to round 2, and no new items were added. 48 round 1 respondents (77.4%) completed round 2 and reached consensus on 53 items. At the final meeting, the expert panel (n = 9) agreed that 58 items should be included in the essential list, moved 9 items to an optional list, and dropped 5 items. CONCLUSIONS: Via expert consensus opinion, this study identified 58 items that are considered essential in a HEAP.

Original publication




Journal article


Value Health

Publication Date





539 - 547


analysis plans, bias, economic evaluation