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Publication - Dr Hannah Christensen

    A DELPHI study on aspects of study design to overcome knowledge gaps on the burden of disease caused by serogroup B invasive meningococcal disease


    Marten, O, Koerber, F, Bloom, D, Bullinger, M, Buysse, C, Christensen, H, De Wals, P, Dohna-Schwake, C, Henneke, P, Kirchner, M, Knuf, M, Lawrenz, B, Monteiro, AL, Sevilla, JP, Velde, NVd, Welte, R, Wright, C & Greiner, W, 2019, ‘A DELPHI study on aspects of study design to overcome knowledge gaps on the burden of disease caused by serogroup B invasive meningococcal disease’. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, vol 17.


    BACKGROUND: Value assessment of vaccination programs against serogroup B invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is on the agenda of public health authorities. Current evidence on the burden due to IMD is unfit for pinning down the nature and magnitude of the full social and economic costs of IMD for two reasons. First, the concepts and components that need to be studied are not agreed, and second, measures of the concepts that have been studied are weak and inconsistent. Thus, the economic evaluation of the available serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccines is difficult. The aims of this DELPHI study are to: (1) agree on the concepts and components determining the burden of MenB diseases that need to be studied; and (2) seek consensus on appropriate methods and study designs to measure quality of life (QoL) associated with MenB induced long-term sequelae in future studies.

    METHODS: We designed a DELPHI questionnaire based on the findings of a recent systematic review on the QoL associated with IMD-induced long-term sequelae, and iteratively interviewed a panel of international experts, including physicians, health economists, and patient representatives. Experts were provided with a controlled feedback based on the results of the previous round.

    RESULTS: Experts reached consensus on all questions after two DELPHI rounds. Major gaps in the literature relate (i) to the classification of sequelae, which allows differentiation of severity levels, (ii) to the choice of QoL measures, and (iii) to appropriate data sources to examine long-term changes and deficits in patients' QoL.

    CONCLUSIONS: Better conceptualisation of the structure of IMD-specific sequelae and of how their diverse forms of severity might impact the QoL of survivors of IMD as well as their family network and care-providers is needed to generate relevant, reliable and generalisable data on QoL in the future. The results of this DELPHI panel provide useful guidance on how to choose the study design, target population and appropriate QoL measures for future research and hence, help promote the appropriateness and consistency in study methodology and sample characteristics.

    Full details in the University publications repository