Reflections from a voluntary internship with EHE: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a blog from Emma Wilson, an undergraduate economics student here in Edinburgh, who spent some time working with Edinburgh Health Economics on a voluntary internship during the summer. This week we hear from a second student, Georgina, who also worked on a project with EHE. Georgina shares a bit about what she worked on and reflects on how she found the experience overall.

Intern profile

Name: Georgina Cotterill

Bio: I completed the EHE internship in the summer of 2020. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh having studied a MA Economics and completing the Health Economics module run by Aileen Neilson and Elizabeth Lemmon. I am now pursuing an MSc Health Economics at the University of York.”

Internship activities

“The aim of the internship was to write a paper assessing the variability of resource use data collection and costing methods in recent HTA-funded primary research papers. Ridyard and Hughes conducted a systematic review of all 100 UK HTA-funded primary research papers published from January 2000 to June 2009 in order to assess just this. They concluded that economic data is variable and a standardized approach should be adopted in order to improve transparency and external validity between studies. The aim of my work was to assess whether there has been improvements in the variability of resource use data collection and costing since 2009. Hence, I conducted a systematic review of a randomly selected 25 papers which fitted the following eligibility criteria: to be a HTA Journal, to be a primary research study, to be a randomised control trial (RCT), and written in 2019.” Paper available here.

“The results of this review display a high variability in methods used across papers and no considerable alignment since Ridyard and Hughes study of HTA-funded primary research papers from 2000 to 2010. HTA studies are still over-reliant on patient-completed forms which are costly and suffer from biases. HTA studies are lacking important data collection exercises, such as piloting and validating data collection methods. Such exercises are fundamental to ensuring reliable data collection. Additionally, the methods in estimating costs still lack transparency and are not fully documented on. Improvements and standardisation are still required in order to achieve good practice in data collection methods among HTA-funded primary research papers.”


Intern reflections

“The internship provided me with an excellent bridge from my undergraduate Health Economics studies to my Health Economics masters. As well as this, the internship offered me the opportunity to start thinking about what I had learnt about HE in a more applied and practical way.”

“I was unable to do anything related to the internship in person, due to the lockdown over the summer. This was a shame and it would have been great to go into the Usher Institute and talk to Aileen face-to-face. Of course, the lockdown affected many things and I am very pleased that I was able to do the internship at all.”

“I would absolutely recommend the EHE internship to others. If you enjoy and are interested in HE, this experience is a fantastic way of planning your career and / or further education and to verify what you really enjoy doing. It’s also wonderful to learn from experts in a field that you love.”

Project lead reflections

“I find it rather satisfying that the outcome of Georgina’s internship has been such a positive experience and that it appears to have been successful in allowing her to get to know if she really enjoyed health economics (after taking HE in the final year of her Econ UG degree) before committing to doing a Masters in Health Economics and picking up some transferable skills along the way.  She did and she is! The latter currently at the University of York. Georgina was given a task, set of essential tools to investigate with, and the responsibly to produce her own bit work. She did very well in all aspects.  Her exploratory review project of some recent literature on the subject of resource use data collection and costing methods used in more recent HTA-funded primary research provides a helpful ‘snapshot’ and ‘current state of play’, which would at least hint at that there may still yet be room to aspire to see further improvements in resource use data collection approaches, standardisation, transparency of reporting and good practices between studies… A much wider body of literature awaits to be explored! Well-done Georgina! All the very best for the future as your journey into health economics is only just starting.  How exciting!” Aileen Neilson


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