First of Its Kind Depression Model to be Informed by Input from Diverse Advisory Group

September 9, 2020 — Alexandria, VA — The Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI) — a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science, practice, and use of value assessment in healthcare — today announced a multi-year initiative to build and test an open-source value assessment model to facilitate evaluation of health interventions indicated for major depressive disorder (MDD).

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 17 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the unmet need for access to depression treatments. Conventional cost-effectiveness models for assessing the value of treatments for MDD typically do not prioritize factors and outcomes important to patients nor feature, in their primary analysis, the societal perspectives relevant to this highly prevalent condition. Additionally, current approaches don’t fully address the decision-making needs of diverse stakeholders such as payers, employers, and clinicians.

“Major depressive disorder is a significant medical condition that can dramatically affect different aspects of one’s life,” said Jennifer Bright, Executive Director, IVI. “Yet we know very little about the value pharmacotherapies, psychotherapies, and other treatment strategies have for patients, payers, and employers. Since major depression is a highly heterogeneous disorder with many different widely varying symptom patterns, it’s a condition without clear-cut therapeutic sequencing. IVI’s work represents an important opportunity to clarify factors that inform the value of various treatment approaches, evaluate potential optimal treatment pathways that address the perspectives of patients, and guide improvement in access and payment for care.”

IVI’s MDD model will feature both cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and the multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). The model is designed to be a lab to test and optimize approaches to incorporate novel value elements and methods. Both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments will be evaluated.

“Mental health is a key issue for employers and depression is one of the most prevalent and impactful conditions in terms of both productivity and disability,” said Michael Thompson, CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions. “The need to better understand the comparative value of different treatment options is critical if we are to effectively support the health and wellbeing of employees and their families. These needs have never been greater than during this pandemic when the risk of depression has more than doubled.”

Work on this first-of-its-kind MDD model will test a novel approach in building value assessment tools, whereby a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group is engaged, from the outset and throughout the conceptualization and development process. The Advisory Group is comprised of diverse stakeholders, including patients, employers, payers, clinicians, researchers, and model developers. Their insights will help inform the model’s scope, development, validation, and application. Such an endeavor will also allow IVI to test how such an engagement approach can improve the credibility and relevance of the models.

As with its first two disease-specific models, IVI’s development process will be fully transparent and include preliminary model publication and public comment periods for both the model protocol and model prototype. All technical documentation and code will be hosted on GitHub, an open-source code hosting platform.

About the Innovation and Value Initiative
The Innovation and Value Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to advancing the science, practice, and use of value assessment in healthcare to make it more meaningful to those who receive, provide, and pay for care. Governed by a Board of Directors with significant input from its Patient Advisory Committee and Scientific Advisory Panel, IVI invests in research that emphasizes patient perspectives on value and strives to improve the flexibility and application of value assessment methods and models. IVI work is delivered in an open-source environment that fosters collaborative, dynamic exploration and testing, and provides creative, common-good resources to support healthcare decision-making. To learn more, visit