Appraisal of: Pitt C, Goodman C, Hanson K. Economic evaluation in global perspective: a bibliometric analysis of the recent literature. Health Econ. 2016 Feb;25 Suppl 1:9-28.

Short description: 

A bibliometric analysis of full economic evaluations of health interventions was conducted. A search of 14 databases identified 2844 economic evaluations published between 1 January 2012 and 3 May 2014. Analyses included: the sensitivity and specificity of searches in all databases, the distribution of the publications between countries, regions and health areas studied, as well as authors' country and institutional affiliations, journal type, language, and type of economic evaluation. The Scopus search identified the largest number of economic evaluations (85%), followed by NHS EED (80%), and MEDLINE (79%). EconLit captured only 1% of the publications identified. The majority of economic evaluations were published in biomedical journals (74%), addressed high-income countries (83%), and had at least one author based in a high-income country (91%). The health areas studied correlated more closely with the burden of diseases in high income countries compared to low-and middle-income countries. 

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

The NHS EED database is no longer being updated as of March 2015. Wiley HEED ceased to be available at the end of 2014. The authors assigned one point per institution per article in the analysis of institutional affiliation, which gives more weight to articles from multiple institutions. A single article could be classified as belonging to multiple health areas, which could be considered double-counting.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
The search strategies used to identify economic evaluations were unique strategies created for this study and were not established search filters, so they do not reflect current practice of information specialists. Because the search strategies were very specific, they may have missed relevant studies which were not explicit about being an economic evaluation. Additionally, variations in the search strategies between databases may have affected sensitivity and precision of retrieval. For example, in the cross-disciplinary databases strategies included a concept to limit retrieval to health topics. As such, the results presented might not fully represent the content of the databases. Because of these factors, it may be difficult to draw meaningful conclusions based on the data presented in this article.
Study Type: 
Single study
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