, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 353-358
Date: 11 Jan 2005

The need for microsimulation to evaluate osteoporosis interventions

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Simulations play an increasingly important role in the evaluation of osteoporosis interventions. Existing evaluations have been based on “reduced-form” cohort simulations that do not reflect the complexity and heterogeneity of osteoporosis and its outcomes. Such simplified models offer parsimony and ease of use, but they also are limited in their ability to explain and extrapolate outcomes in a way that is most useful for both clinical and health policy decision makers. Alternatively, evaluations could be based on “structural” microsimulations, which explicitly model the underlying biology of osteoporosis at the individual level. The structural approach presents technical challenges, including the need to obtain more-detailed data and the requirement that underlying biological models be validated. However, evaluations based on structural microsimulation may ultimately provide substantially more useful information, resulting in improved decision making.