Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objectives: Multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) is increasingly used for decision making in healthcare. However, its application in different decision-making contexts is still unclear. This study aimed to provide a comprehensive review of MCDA studies performed to inform decisions in healthcare and to summarize its application in different decision contexts. Methods: We updated a systematic review conducted in 2013 by searching Embase, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar for MCDA studies in healthcare, published in English between August 2013 and November 2020. We also expanded the search by reviewing grey literature found via Trip Medical Database and Google, published between January 1990 and November 2020. A comprehensive template was developed to extract information about the decision context, criteria, methods, stakeholders involved, and sensitivity analyses conducted. Results: From the 4295 identified studies, 473 studies were eligible for full-text review after assessing titles and abstracts. Of those, 228 studies met the inclusion criteria and underwent data extraction. The use of MCDA continues to grow in healthcare literature, with most of the studies (49%) informing priority-setting decisions. Safety, cost, and quality of care delivery are the most frequently used criteria, although there are considerable differences across decision contexts. Almost half of the MCDA studies used the linear additive model whereas scales and the analytical hierarchy process were the most used techniques for scoring and weighting, respectively. Not all studies report on each one of the MCDA steps, consider axiomatic properties, or justify the methods used. Conclusions: A guide on how to conduct and report MCDA that acknowledges the particularities of the different decision contexts and methods needs to be developed.

Original publication




Journal article


Value in Health

Publication Date