INTRODUCTION: Demonstrating the validity of a public health simulation model helps to establish confidence in the accuracy and usefulness of a model's results. In this study we evaluated the validity of the Prevention Impacts Simulation Model (PRISM), a system dynamics model that simulates health, mortality, and economic outcomes for the US population. PRISM primarily simulates outcomes related to cardiovascular disease but also includes outcomes related to other chronic diseases that share risk factors. PRISM is openly available through a web application.
METHODS: We applied the model validation framework developed independently by the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and the Society for Medical Decision Making modeling task force to validate PRISM. This framework included model review by external experts and quantitative data comparison by the study team.
RESULTS: External expert review determined that PRISM is based on up-to-date science. One-way sensitivity analysis showed that no parameter affected results by more than 5%. Comparison with other published models, such as ModelHealth, showed that PRISM produces lower estimates of effects and cost savings. Comparison with surveillance data showed that projected model trends in risk factors and outcomes align closely with secular trends. Four measures did not align with surveillance data, and those were recalibrated.
CONCLUSION: PRISM is a useful tool to simulate the potential effects and costs of public health interventions. Results of this validation should help assure health policy leaders that PRISM can help support community health program planning and evaluation efforts.