The Peer Models Network: A Novel Mechanism to Support Transformative Model Interrogation in Patient-Oriented Health Economics

Project Summary

In Canada’s public health care system, governments must decide which treatments and programs to fund with a limited budget. To help make these decisions, decision-makers often rely on information from “health economic models”. These are computer models that inform decision-making by giving information about costs and effects of different treatments and programs. Although health economic models inform very important decisions, it is always not easy to see how they are built.


To help make health economics models more transparent, understandable, and open to feedback, our research team launched a project called the Peer Models Network, which included a website, Twitter, and YouTube page.

  • The website introduced a new technical infrastructure called ‘PRISM’ that allows health economic models to be hosted online, making them accessible to everyone.
  • To invite patients and the public learn about modelling and give feedback to researchers, the website included a blog, private message feature, and discussion forum.
  • The website also introduced the ‘Peer Models Network Panel’, a group of patients and the public who wish to be contacted about research opportunities.
  • Our Twitter account, @PeerModels, aimed to raise awareness and start conversations about public engagement in modelling.
  • The YouTube paged hosted ‘model companion videos’, short educational videos that aim to introduce modelling to broader audiences, including a six-part video series on the EPIC model.
  • We also conducted a survey to ask patients and members of the public what they think of the Peer Models Network. The results included both encouraging and critical feedback that will inform future research about transparency and patient engagement in health economic modelling.

Project Findings

Throughout conducting this project, we found that patient partners and researchers had a good and productive experience working together, even on a specialized topic such as health economic modelling.

We found, in our engagement, a need to identify the levels of familiarity with health economic modelling among different people, and to establish what the connection is between modelling and the concerns most relevant to them.

Patient partners and researchers were also able to identify common concerns relevant to the project, such as the takeaway that anti-racist practices can be incorporated into all forms of patient-oriented research, and that conversations about modeling can present an opportunity to address the problem of racist bias in health research, which was identified within the team as a priority to address.


Further project findings will be communicated via the PeerModels Network website, Twitter, and YouTube pages, as well as an academic manuscript.


Oct 2020: Putting Patients First: Connecting Face to Face in Virtual Space (#PPF20)

May 2021: Methods Matters Webinar (see below)


Harvard, S., Adibi, A., Easterbrook, A. et al. Developing an Online Infrastructure to Enhance Model Accessibility and Validation: The Peer Models Network. PharmacoEconomics (2022).

This project is part of the Health Economics and Simulation Modelling Cluster.


Stephanie Harvard, Lead ✉︎
Alison Mclean
Don Grant
Greg Werker
David Murphy
Amin Adibi
Mohsen Sadatsafavi

Methods Matters Webinar

If you’re in a rush, check out these snack-size highlights:

Duration: 3:07

Duration: 2:30

Duration: 1:16