Burden of Illness


Epidemiologic studies estimating the burden of illness encompass many designs and types of objectives. Studies of the societal burden of illness aim to provide accurate, disease- or region-specific estimates of:

  • Disease incidence or prevalence
  • Morbidity or mortality  
  • Natural history 

Individual/humanistic burden of illness studies characterise the impact on health of illnesses and consequences of treatment, including:

  • Health-related quality of life impact
  • Lost productivity and absenteeism
  • Frequency of clinical events (i.e., exacerbations, severe symptoms)
  • Utilities elicitation, from patient or general population samples

Studies of the economic burden of illness estimate the absolute or incremental costs to society (or specific stakeholder groups) of treating a cohort with the condition of interest. 

We use a variety of techniques to estimate disease parameters to inform the burden of illness studies, including: 

  • Administrative database analysis
  • Chart reviews
  • Prospective data collection and registries
  • Systematic literature reviews
  • Meta-analysis
  • Modelling

Epidemiologic burden of illness studies are critical components of investment appraisal, pricing decisions, economic appraisal and health technology assessment; providing decision makers with critical information about the current and potential future health care obligations. Our epidemiology team has extensive experience completing targeted burden of illness studies from regional, national and multinational perspectives, using a combination of the above techniques.