COMPAR-EU is based on a multimethod, interdisciplinary approach. The project exists of three main phases and is divided into ten work packages (WP), integrating partners from Belgium, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain. WP1 and WP10 are not presented in the figure as they draw on the entire project. The objective of WP1 is to ensure compliance with the ethics requirements. WP10 addresses the overall strategic project coordination and management.
Phases and main activities
Preparatory research development:
- Theoretical framework and data collection preparation
Previous standardisation activities are key to a proper synthesis of the existing literature and further comparison of SMIs as they ensure internal and external validity based on quality criteria. This phase of the project includes all relevant methods needed to prepare further work.
- Involvement of patients to establish priorities and preferences
Active involvement of service users in research can lead to research of greater quality and relevance owing to the unique perspective that users can bring to a research project. In COMPAR-EU, patient involvement has been built into the research design from an early stage and is integrated in an iterative fashion. This process is monitored by the European Patients’ Forum.
- Data search, extraction, and synthesis of the evidence
This is a key stage of the project in which we identify existing RCTs of SMIs, extract key information for further evaluation, and establish methods to ensure the quality of the data and to summarise the information of SMIs and SMI outcomes.
- Evaluating and comparing interventions
In this phase of the project, we compare interventions using NMA, which is a sophisticated method for statistically combining direct and indirect evidence from RCTs in a single analysis. Additional cost-effectiveness modelling is conducted for the most effective interventions, and contextual factors are analysed in order to better inform about implementation issues.
- Development and piloting of the COMPAR-EU information technology platform.
Many problems facing health care systems today are due not to a lack of knowledge but rather to gaps between what we know and what we do. The process from innovation to clinical practice is complex but it could be facilitated by summarising and tailoring existing evidence to different end users and producing tools focused on easier, better-informed decision-making. This phase focuses on the development of a technological platform where tried-and-tested tools are used to integrate the information and evidence synthesised during the different phases of COMPAR-EU to facilitate decision-making for the target end users (patients, healthcare professionals, policymakers, researchers, and SMEs). The tools incorporate the new knowledge produced, mainly from the network meta-analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis.
- Dissemination and exploitation.
Substantial efforts are spent on the implementation of innovative activities to increase the impact of the research findings. This includes research activities and activities directly targeting the exploitation of the proposed decision-making tools.