We examine bias in Markov models of diseases, including both chronic and infectious diseases. We consider two common types of Markov disease models: ones where disease progression changes by severity of disease, and ones where progression of disease changes in time or by age. We find sufficient conditions for bias to exist in models with aggregated transition probabilities when compared to models with state/time dependent transition probabilities. We also find that when aggregating data to compute transition probabilities, bias increases with the degree of data aggregation. We illustrate by examining bias in Markov models of Hepatitis C, Alzheimer's disease, and lung cancer using medical data and find that the bias is significant depending on the method used to aggregate the data. A key implication is that by not incorporating state/time dependent transition probabilities, studies that use Markov models of diseases may be significantly overestimating or underestimating disease progression. This could potentially result in incorrect recommendations from cost-effectiveness studies and incorrect disease burden forecasts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistics and Probability
- Modeling and Simulation
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Applied Mathematics