Systematic Reviews and Indirect Comparisons for your HTA Submissions

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are now a key element of evidence-based healthcare and can be used to provide a complete overview of data available to support your HTA submissions.

Along with an economic evaluation, a systematic review of the evidence forms the components of the assessment phase of a NICE technology appraisal with the aim to assess a technology’s clinical and cost effectiveness for a specific indication, taking account of uncertainty, compared with the appropriate comparator(s) listed in the scope.

At Tolley Health Economics, we have several years’ experience in carrying out systematic reviews, in a wide range of therapeutic areas. We can put together a skilled team using a network of experts including systematic information scientists, health economists, statisticians and medical writers to design and perform your search to deliver a high quality systematic review.

Tolley Health Economics will carry out your systematic review in six steps:


Identifying the Relevant work

Selecting all the relevant studies.

Literature Search

This includes using the search strategy approved in the Protocol to search all databases in accordance with the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRDs) ‘Guidelines for Undertaking Systematic Reviews.’ We will also carry out searches for non-published studies in the form of abstracts and posters from relevant conferences.

Assessing the Quality of the Studies

Study quality assessment is relevant to every step of a review. Selected studies will be subjected to a more refined quality assessment by use of general critical appraisal guides and design-based quality checklists. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, direct evidence from good-quality RCTs should be used wherever possible. If little or no such evidence exists, Tolley Health Economics can perform indirect comparisons from RCTs.

Interpreting the Findings

Published papers will be collated into an Excel spreadsheet, and a report will be produced with details of the search, study selection/flow diagram and evidence tables for the final selected studies.

Data Extraction

This includes summarising the evidence. Data extraction consists of tabulation of study characteristics, quality and effects as well as use of statistical methods for exploring differences between studies and combining their effects (meta-analysis).

Protocol development

This will include setting the review question and designing the optimum search strategy for capturing all the relevant literature.


If you would like to receive more information on how we can help with your systematic reviews and indirect comparisons, please