Linear regression metamodeling as a tool to Summarize and present simulation model results

Hawre Jalal, Bryan E Dowd, François Sainfort, Karen M Kuntz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background/Objective. Modelers lack a tool to systematically and clearly present complex model results, including those from sensitivity analyses. The objective was to propose linear regression metamodeling as a tool to increase transparency of decision analytic models and better communicate their results. Methods. We used a simplified cancer cure model to demonstrate our approach. The model computed the lifetime cost and benefit of 3 treatment options for cancer patients. We simulated 10,000 cohorts in a probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) and regressed the model outcomes on the standardized input parameter values in a set of regression analyses. We used the regression coefficients to describe measures of sensitivity analyses, including threshold and parameter sensitivity analyses. We also compared the results of the PSA to deterministic full-factorial and one-factor-at-a-time designs. Results. The regression intercept represented the estimated base-case outcome, and the other coefficients described the relative parameter uncertainty in the model. We defined simple relationships that compute the average and incremental net benefit of each intervention. Metamodeling produced outputs similar to traditional deterministic 1-way or 2-way sensitivity analyses but was more reliable since it used all parameter values. Conclusions. Linear regression metamodeling is a simple, yet powerful, tool that can assist modelers in communicating model characteristics and sensitivity analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-890
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • cost-effectiveness
  • decision analysis
  • design of experiments
  • economic evaluation
  • metamodel
  • regression
  • sensitivity analysis

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