Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Health Economics Analysis and Research Methods Team (HEART)

A group of health economists evaluating the cost-effectiveness of health care interventions and researching new methodologies

The HEART is the new group name for the health economists in UCL’s Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology (ICTM) led by Rachael Hunter, Associate Professor of Health Economics. The HEART works across all four clinical trials units (CTUs) of ICTM, namely Priment CTU, Comprehensive CTU, Medical Research Council CTU at UCL, and UCL’s Cancer Research UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre (UCL CTC), and beyond.

The HEART grew out of a need for a collaborative approach to health economics across the ICTM, led by Priment’s inclusive approach, which ensures health economics is fully integrated within the trial design process. We specialise in the economic evaluation of health care interventions in a wide variety of therapeutic areas via clinical trials and other well-designed studies, including observational studies and service evaluations, supplemented by decision analytic modelling where appropriate. HEART’s involvement begins at the grant application and study design stages, and continues through data management and analysis, to publication of the results. We work closely with the statistical, qualitative, clinical and other members of our project teams, and our research provides evidence to support decision-making in the NHS and social care system.

We work across different UCL departments and research groups. Within the Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, we focus on sexual health and eHealth interventions aimed at young people and all adults, as well as interventions aimed specifically at supporting the health and social care of older adults. We also collaborate on projects with colleagues from various other departments and academic groups within UCL, as well as NHS clinicians at a number of Trusts, and other academic and public health institutions across the UK and internationally. Current projects cover a number of different cancers (spanning pharmacological treatments, reorganisation of service delivery, and new imaging methods), various surgical interventions, respiratory diseases, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, hip dysplasia in children, and many others. 


We provide training for students and researchers to understand health economics. We design and deliver introductory health economics sessions for medical students, Mental Health Sciences students, Applied Medical Sciences students and Clinical Trials students, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. We have recently developed a short course called “Understanding Health Economics in Clinical Trials”, which is targeted at researchers and managers involved in clinical trials who would like to become more familiar with and improve their understanding of health economics, which will soon be open to external candidates.