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2.  From KIDSCREEN-10 to CHU9D: creating a unique mapping algorithm for application in economic evaluation 
Background
The KIDSCREEN-10 index and the Child Health Utility 9D (CHU9D) are two recently developed generic instruments for the measurement of health-related quality of life in children and adolescents. Whilst the CHU9D is a preference based instrument developed specifically for application in cost-utility analyses, the KIDSCREEN-10 is not currently suitable for application in this context. This paper provides an algorithm for mapping the KIDSCREEN-10 index onto the CHU9D utility scores.
Methods
A sample of 590 Australian adolescents (aged 11–17) completed both the KIDSCREEN-10 and the CHU9D. Several econometric models were estimated, including ordinary least squares estimator, censored least absolute deviations estimator, robust MM-estimator and generalised linear model, using a range of explanatory variables with KIDSCREEN-10 items scores as key predictors. The predictive performance of each model was judged using mean absolute error (MAE) and root mean squared error (RMSE).
Results
The MM-estimator with stepwise-selected KIDSCREEN-10 items scores as explanatory variables had the best predictive accuracy using MAE, whilst the equivalent ordinary least squares model had the best predictive accuracy using RMSE.
Conclusions
The preferred mapping algorithm (i.e. the MM-estimate with stepwise selected KIDSCREEN-10 item scores as the predictors) can be used to predict CHU9D utility from KIDSCREEN-10 index with a high degree of accuracy. The algorithm may be usefully applied within cost-utility analyses to generate cost per quality adjusted life year estimates where KIDSCREEN-10 data only are available.
doi:10.1186/s12955-014-0134-z
PMCID: PMC4243726  PMID: 25169558
Health-related quality of life; CHU9D; KIDSCREEN; Mapping; Utility; Adolescent
3.  Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) changes in South Australia: comparison of burden of disease morbidity and survey-based health utility estimates 
Background
Global research shows a clear transition in health outcomes over the past two decades where improved survival was accompanied by lower health related quality of life (HRQoL) as measured by morbidity and disability. These trends suggest the need to better understand changes in population HRQoL. This paper compares two perspectives on population HRQoL change using burden of disease morbidity estimates from administrative data and self-reports from random and representative population surveys.
Methods
South Australian administrative data including inpatient hospital activity, cancer and communicable disease registrations were used within a Burden of Disease study framework to quantify morbidity as Prevalent Years of Life lived with Disease and injury related illness (PYLD) for 1999 to 2008. Self-reported HRQoL was measured using the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) in face to face interviews with at least 3000 respondents in each of South Australia’s Health Omnibus Surveys (HOS) in 1998, 2004 and 2008.
Results
Age specific PYLD rates for those aged 75 or more increased by 5.1%. HRQoL dis-utility in this age group also increased significantly and beyond the minimally important difference threshold. Underlying increased dis-utility were greater difficulties in independent living (particularly requiring help with household tasks) and psychological well-being (as influenced by pain, discomfort and difficulty sleeping).
Conclusions
Consistent with increased quantity of life being accompanied by reduced HRQoL, the analysis indicates older people in South Australia experienced increased morbidity in the decade to 2008. The results warrant routine monitoring of health dis-utility at a population level and improvement to the supply and scope of administrative data.
doi:10.1186/s12955-014-0113-4
PMCID: PMC4243949  PMID: 25092360
Health related quality of life; Morbidity; Population health; Burden of disease; Health utility; Patient reported outcome measures; AQoL
4.  A health economic model for the development and evaluation of innovations in aged care: an application to consumer-directed care—study protocol 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e005788.
Introduction
Consumer-directed care is currently being embraced within Australia and internationally as a means of promoting autonomy and choice in the delivery of health and aged care services. Despite its wide proliferation little research has been conducted to date to assess the views and preferences of older people for consumer-directed care or to assess the costs and benefits of such an approach relative to existing models of service delivery.
Methods and analysis
A comprehensive health economic model will be developed and applied to the evolution, implementation and evaluation of consumer-directed care in an Australian community aged care setting. A mixed methods approach comprising qualitative interviews and a discrete choice experiment will determine the attitudes and preferences of older people and their informal carers for consumer-directed care. The results of the qualitative interviews and the discrete choice experiment will inform the introduction of a new consumer-directed care innovation in service delivery. The cost-effectiveness of consumer-directed care will be evaluated by comparing incremental changes in resource use, costs and health and quality of life outcomes relative to traditional services. The discrete choice experiment will be repeated at the end of the implementation period to determine the extent to which attitudes and preferences change as a consequence of experience of consumer-directed care. The proposed framework will have wide applicability in the future development and economic evaluation of new innovations across the health and aged care sectors.
Ethics and dissemination
The study is approved by Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (Project No. 6114/SBREC). Findings from the qualitative interviews, discrete choice experiments and the economic evaluation will be reported at a workshop of stakeholders to be held in 2015 and will be documented in reports and in peer reviewed journal articles.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005788
PMCID: PMC4078785  PMID: 24965918
Health Economics; Public Health; Geriatric Medicine
5.  Harnessing the potential to quantify public preferences for healthcare priorities through citizens’ juries 
Despite progress towards greater public engagement, questions about the optimal approach to access public preferences remain unanswered. We review two increasingly popular methods for engaging the public in healthcare priority-setting and determining their preferences; the Citizens’ Jury (CJ) and Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE). We discuss the theoretical framework from which each method is derived, its application in healthcare, and critique the information it can provide for decision-makers. We conclude that combining deliberation of an informed public via CJs and quantification of preferences using DCE methods, whilst it remains to be tested as an approach to engaging the public in priority-setting, could potentially achieve much richer information than the application of either method in isolation
doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2014.61
PMCID: PMC4122074  PMID: 25114943
Consumer Participation; Health Policy; Decision-Making; Public Preferences; Citizens’ Jury (CJ); Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE)
6.  Engaging the public in healthcare decision-making: quantifying preferences for healthcare through citizens’ juries 
BMJ Open  2014;4(5):e005437.
Introduction
The optimal approach to engage the public in healthcare decision-making is unclear. Approaches range from deliberative citizens’ juries to large population surveys using discrete choice experiments. This study promotes public engagement and quantifies preferences in two key areas of relevance to the industry partners to identify which approach is most informative for informing healthcare policy.
Methods and analysis
The key areas identified are optimising appropriate use of emergency care and prioritising patients for bariatric surgery. Three citizens’ juries will be undertaken—two in Queensland to address each key issue and one in Adelaide to repeat the bariatric surgery deliberations with a different sample. Jurors will be given a choice experiment before the jury, immediately following the jury and at approximately 1 month following the jury. Control groups for each jury will be given the choice experiment at the same time points to test for convergence. Samples of healthcare decision-makers will be given the choice experiment as will two large samples of the population. Jury and control group participants will be recruited from the Queensland electoral roll and newspaper advertisements in Adelaide. Population samples will be recruited from a large research panel. Jury processes will be analysed qualitatively and choice experiments will be analysed using multinomial logit models and its more generalised forms. Comparisons between preferences across jurors predeliberation and postdeliberation, control participants, healthcare decision-makers and the general public will be undertaken for each key issue.
Ethics and dissemination
The study is approved by Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee (MED/10/12/HREC). Findings of the juries and the choice experiments will be reported at a workshop of stakeholders to be held in 2015, in reports and in peer reviewed journals.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005437
PMCID: PMC4028511  PMID: 24793259
Health economics < HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT
7.  A Think Aloud Study Comparing the Validity and Acceptability of Discrete Choice and Best Worst Scaling Methods 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e90635.
Objectives
This study provides insights into the validity and acceptability of Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) and profile-case Best Worst Scaling (BWS) methods for eliciting preferences for health care in a priority-setting context.
Methods
An adult sample (N = 24) undertook a traditional DCE and a BWS choice task as part of a wider survey on Health Technology Assessment decision criteria. A ‘think aloud’ protocol was applied, whereby participants verbalized their thinking while making choices. Internal validity and acceptability were assessed through a thematic analysis of the decision-making process emerging from the qualitative data and a repeated choice task.
Results
A thematic analysis of the decision-making process demonstrated clear evidence of ‘trading’ between multiple attribute/levels for the DCE, and to a lesser extent for the BWS task. Limited evidence consistent with a sequential decision-making model was observed for the BWS task. For the BWS task, some participants found choosing the worst attribute/level conceptually challenging. A desire to provide a complete ranking from best to worst was observed. The majority (18,75%) of participants indicated a preference for DCE, as they felt this enabled comparison of alternative full profiles. Those preferring BWS were averse to choosing an undesirable characteristic that was part of a ‘package’, or perceived BWS to be less ethically conflicting or burdensome. In a repeated choice task, more participants were consistent for the DCE (22,92%) than BWS (10,42%) (p = 0.002).
Conclusions
This study supports the validity and acceptability of the traditional DCE format. Findings relating to the application of BWS profile methods are less definitive. Research avenues to further clarify the comparative merits of these preference elicitation methods are identified.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090635
PMCID: PMC3997335  PMID: 24759637
8.  Measuring and Valuing Health-Related Quality of Life among Children and Adolescents in Mainland China – A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89222.
Background
The Child Health Utility 9D (CHU9D), a new generic preference-based health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instrument, has been validated for use in young people in both the UK and Australia. The main objectives of this study were to examine the feasibility of using a Chinese version of the CHU9D (CHU9D-CHN) to assess HRQoL and to investigate the association of physical activity, homework hours and sleep duration with HRQoL in children and adolescents in Mainland China.
Methods
Data were collected using a multi-stage sampling method from grades 4–12 students in May 2013 in Nanjing, China. Consenting participants (N = 815) completed a self-administered questionnaire including the CHU9D-CHN instrument and information on physical activity, homework and sleep duration, self-reported health status, and socio-demographic characteristics. Descriptive and multivariate linear regression analyses were undertaken. CHU9D-CHN utility scores were generated by employing two scoring algorithms currently available for the instrument, the first derived from UK adults utilising the standard gamble (SG) valuation method and the second derived from Australian adolescents utilising the best-worst scaling (BWS) method.
Results
It was found that CHU9D utility scores discriminated well in relation to self-reported health status and that better health status was significantly associated with higher utility scores regardless of which scoring algorithm was employed (both p<0.001). The adjusted mean utilities were significantly higher for physically active than inactive students (0.023 by SG, 0.029 by BWS scoring methods, p<0.05). An additional hour of doing homework and sleep duration were, separately, associated with mean utilities of −0.019 and 0.032 based on SG, and −0.021 and 0.040 according to BWS scoring algorithms (p<0.01).
Conclusion
The CHU9D-CHN shows promise for measuring and valuing the HRQoL of children and adolescents in China. Levels of self-reported physical activity, homework and sleep time were important influencers of utility scores.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089222
PMCID: PMC3930638  PMID: 24586607
9.  Coaching Older Adults and Carers to have their preferences Heard (COACH): A randomised controlled trial in an intermediate care setting (study protocol) 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2012;5(8):444-454.
Background
Frail older people who are considering movement into residential aged care or returning home following a hospital admission often face complex and difficult decisions.Despite research interest in this area, a recent Cochrane review was unable to identify any studies of interventions to support decision-making in this group that met the experimental or quasi-experimental study design criteria.
Aims
This study tests the impact of a multi-component coaching intervention on the quality of preparation for care transitions, targeted to older adults and informal carers. In addition, the study assesses the impact of investing specialist geriatric resources into consultations with families in an intermediate care setting where decisions about future care needs are being made.
Method
This study was a randomised controlled trial of 230 older adults admitted to intermediate care in Australia. Masked assessment at 3 and 12 months examined physical functioning, health–related quality of life and utilisation of health and aged care resources. A geriatrician and specialist nurse delivered a coaching intervention to both the older person and their carer/family. Components of the intervention included provision of a Question Prompt List prior to meeting with a geriatrician (to clarify medical conditions and treatments, medications, ‘red flags’, end of life decisions and options for future health care) and a follow-up meeting with a nurse who remained in telephone contact. Participants received a printed summary and an audio recording of the meeting with the geriatrician.
Conclusion
The costs and outcomes of the intervention are compared with usual care. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000638437).
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2012.1366.
PMCID: PMC3442189  PMID: 23024719
Caregivers; continuity of patient care; cost-benefit analysis; health care costs; intermediate care facilities; patient-centred care; quality of life; randomised controlled trial
10.  The relationship between quality of life, health and care transition: an empirical comparison in an older post-acute population 
Background
The aim of this study was to explore, via empirical comparison, the relationship between quality of life, as measured by the ICECAP-O capability index (a new instrument designed to measure and value quality of life in older people), with both self-reported health status and the quality of care transition in adults aged 65 and over participating in two post acute rehabilitation programs (outpatient day rehabilitation and the Australian National Transition Care residential program).
Methods
The ICECAP-O was administered to patients receiving either outpatient day rehabilitation (n = 53) or residential transition care (n = 29) during a face to face interview. The relationships between the ICECAP-O and other instruments, including the EQ-5D (a self-reported measure of health status) and CTM-3 (a self-reported measure of the quality of care transitions), the type of post-acute care being received and socio-demographic characteristics were examined.
Results
The mean ICECAP-O score for the total sample was 0.81 (SD: 0.15). Patients receiving outpatient day rehabilitation generally reported higher levels of capability, than patients receiving residential transition care (mean 0.82 [SD: 0.15] and 0.79 [SD: 0.164] respectively), however these differences were not statistically significant. The mean EQ-5D score for the total sample was somewhat lower than the ICECAP-O (mean 0.55; SD: 0.27) indicating significant levels of health impairment with the outpatient day rehabilitation group demonstrating slightly higher levels of health status than the transition care group (mean 0.54 [SD: 0.254] and mean 0.49 [SD: 0.30]). The ICECAP-O was found to be positively correlated with both the CTM-3 (Spearman’s r =0.234; p ≤ 0.05) and the EQ-5D (Spearman’s r = 0.437; p ≤ 0.001). The relationships between the total EQ-5D and CTM-3 scores and the individual attributes of the ICECAP-O indicate health status and quality of care transition in this patient population to be influential in some, but not all aspects of capability.
Conclusions
The correlations between the ICECAP-O, EQ-5D and CTM-3 instruments illustrate that capability is strongly and positively associated with health-related quality of life and the quality of care transitions. However further research is required to further examine the construct validity of the ICECAP-O and to examine its potential for incorporation into economic evaluation.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-69
PMCID: PMC3439273  PMID: 22703710
Aged; Geriatrics; Rehabilitation; Quality of life; Health services for the aged; Health economics
11.  Acupuncture to improve live birth rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:60.
Background
IVF is a costly treatment option for women, their partners, and the public. Therefore new therapies that improve reproductive and health outcomes are highly desirable. There is a growing body of research evaluating the effect of acupuncture administered during IVF, and specifically on the day of embryo transfer (ET). Many trials are heterogeneous and results inconsistent. There remains insufficient evidence to determine if acupuncture can enhance live birth rates when used as an adjunct to IVF treatment.
The study will determine the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture with improving the proportion of women undergoing IVF having live births. Other objectives include: determination of the cost effectiveness of IVF with acupuncture; and examination of the personal and social context of acupuncture in IVF patients, and examining the reasons why the acupuncture may or may not have worked.
Methods
We will conduct a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture compared to placebo acupuncture.
Inclusion criteria include: women aged less than 43 years; undergoing a fresh IVF or ICSI cycle; and restricted to women with the potential for a lower live birth rate defined as two or more previous unsuccessful ETs; and unsuccessful clinical pregnancies of quality embryos deemed by the embryologist to have been suitable for freezing by standard criteria. Women will be randomized to acupuncture or placebo acupuncture. Treatment is administered on days 6 to 8 of the stimulated cycle and two treatments on the day of ET. A non-randomized cohort of women not using acupuncture will be recruited to the study. The primary study outcome is the proportion of women reporting a live birth. Secondary outcomes include the proportion of women reporting a clinical pregnancy miscarriage prior to 12 weeks, quality of life, and self-efficacy. The sample size of the study is 1,168 women, with the aim of detecting a 7% difference in live births between groups (P = 0.05, 80% power).
Discussion
There remains a need for further research to add significant new knowledge to defining the exact role of certain acupuncture protocols in the management of infertility requiring IVF from a clinical and cost-effectiveness perspective.
Clinical Trial Registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN12611000226909
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-60
PMCID: PMC3464889  PMID: 22607192
12.  Is the Nintendo Wii Fit really acceptable to older people?: a discrete choice experiment 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:64.
Background
Interactive video games such as the Nintendo Wii Fit are increasingly used as a therapeutic tool in health and aged care settings however, their acceptability to older people is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the acceptability of the Nintendo Wii Fit as a therapy tool for hospitalised older people using a discrete choice experiment (DCE) before and after exposure to the intervention.
Methods
A DCE was administered to 21 participants in an interview style format prior to, and following several sessions of using the Wii Fit in physiotherapy. The physiotherapist prescribed the Wii Fit activities, supervised and supported the patient during the therapy sessions. Attributes included in the DCE were: mode of therapy (traditional or using the Wii Fit), amount of therapy, cost of therapy program and percentage of recovery made. Data was analysed using conditional (fixed-effects) logistic regression.
Results
Prior to commencing the therapy program participants were most concerned about therapy time (avoiding programs that were too intensive), and the amount of recovery they would make. Following the therapy program, participants were more concerned with the mode of therapy and preferred traditional therapy programs over programs using the Wii Fit.
Conclusions
The usefulness of the Wii Fit as a therapy tool with hospitalised older people is limited not only by the small proportion of older people who are able to use it, but by older people's preferences for traditional approaches to therapy. Mainstream media portrayals of the popularity of the Wii Fit with older people may not reflect the true acceptability in the older hospitalised population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-64
PMCID: PMC3206825  PMID: 22011360
13.  If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed 
Age and Ageing  2011;40(3):290-292.
doi:10.1093/ageing/afr035
PMCID: PMC3080243  PMID: 21454346
14.  Learning to prescribe – pharmacists' experiences of supplementary prescribing training in England 
Background
The introduction of non-medical prescribing for professions such as pharmacy and nursing in recent years offers additional responsibilities and opportunities but attendant training issues. In the UK and in contrast to some international models, becoming a non-medical prescriber involves the completion of an accredited training course offered by many higher education institutions, where the skills and knowledge necessary for prescribing are learnt. Aims: to explore pharmacists' perceptions and experiences of learning to prescribe on supplementary prescribing (SP) courses, particularly in relation to inter-professional learning, course content and subsequent use of prescribing in practice.
Methods
A postal questionnaire survey was sent to all 808 SP registered pharmacists in England in April 2007, exploring demographic, training, prescribing, safety culture and general perceptions of SP.
Results
After one follow-up, 411 (51%) of pharmacists responded. 82% agreed SP training was useful, 58% agreed courses provided appropriate knowledge and 62% agreed that the necessary prescribing skills were gained. Clinical examination, consultation skills training and practical experience with doctors were valued highly; pharmacology training and some aspects of course delivery were criticised. Mixed views on inter-professional learning were reported – insights into other professions being valued but knowledge and skills differences considered problematic. 67% believed SP and recent independent prescribing (IP) should be taught together, with more diagnostic training wanted; few pharmacists trained in IP, but many were training or intending to train. There was no association between pharmacists' attitudes towards prescribing training and when they undertook training between 2004 and 2007 but earlier cohorts were more likely to be using supplementary prescribing in practice.
Conclusion
Pharmacists appeared to value their SP training and suggested improvements that could inform future courses. The benefits of inter-professional learning, however, may conflict with providing profession-specific training. SP training may be perceived to be an instrumental 'stepping stone' in pharmacists' professional project of gaining full IP status.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-57
PMCID: PMC2615422  PMID: 19061487
15.  Development and validation of a preference based measure derived from the Cambridge Pulmonary Hypertension Outcome Review (CAMPHOR) for use in cost utility analyses 
Background
Pulmonary Hypertension is a severe and incurable disease with poor prognosis. A suite of new disease-specific measures – the Cambridge Pulmonary Hypertension Outcome Review (CAMPHOR) – was recently developed for use in this condition. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a preference based measure from the CAMPHOR that could be used in cost-utility analyses.
Methods
Items were selected that covered major issues covered by the CAMPHOR QoL scale (activities, travelling, dependence and communication). These were used to create 36 health states that were valued by 249 people representative of the UK adult population, using the time trade-off (TTO) technique. Data from the TTO interviews were analysed using both aggregate and individual level modelling. Finally, the original CAMPHOR validation data were used to validate the new preference based model.
Results
The predicted health state values ranged from 0.962 to 0.136. The mean level model selected for analyzing the data had good explanatory power (0.936), did not systematically over- or underestimate the observed mean health state values and showed no evidence of auto correlation in the prediction errors. The value of less than 1 reflects a background level of ill health in state 1111, as judged by the respondents. Scores derived from the new measure had excellent test-retest reliability (0.85) and construct validity. The CAMPHOR utility score appears better able to distinguish between WHO functional classes (II and III) than the EQ-5D and SF-6D.
Conclusion
The tariff derived in this study can be used to classify an individual into a health state based on their responses to the CAMPHOR. The results of this study widen the evidence base for conducting economic evaluations of interventions designed to improve QoL for patients with PH.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-6-65
PMCID: PMC2546377  PMID: 18718016
16.  Features of asthma management: quantifying the patient perspective 
Background
In the management of asthma, features of care important to patients may not be fully appreciated. This study quantifies the importance of different features of asthma management from the patient perspective. This may assist in the development of personalised management strategies.
Methods
We used the technique of discrete choice experiment (DCE). Patients over 18 years of age with asthma, prescribed and taking medicine at step 3 of the UK guidelines were recruited from 15 general (family) practices in three areas of the UK. 147 evaluable questionnaires were returned from a total of 348 sent out. The outcome measures were the relative importance to patients of features of asthma management and the impact of changes in asthma management, as measured by utility shift between the features tested.
Results
The largest shift in mean utility values was recorded in "number of inhalers" and "use of inhaled steroid". Use of a personal asthma action plan was ranked next highest.
Conclusion
This study suggests that adults with moderate or severe asthma would trade some improvements in symptom relief in favour of, for example, simpler treatment regimens that use as few inhalers as possible and a lower dose of inhaled steroid.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-7-16
PMCID: PMC2231386  PMID: 18062804
17.  A pilot Internet "Value of Health" Panel: recruitment, participation and compliance 
Objectives
To pilot using a panel of members of the public to provide preference data via the Internet
Methods
A stratified random sample of members of the general public was recruited and familiarised with the standard gamble procedure using an Internet based tool. Health states were perdiodically presented in "sets" corresponding to different conditions, during the study. The following were described: Recruitment (proportion of people approached who were trained); Participation (a) the proportion of people trained who provided any preferences and (b) the proportion of panel members who contributed to each "set" of values; and Compliance (the proportion, per participant, of preference tasks which were completed). The influence of covariates on these outcomes was investigated using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
A panel of 112 people was recruited. 23% of those approached (n = 5,320) responded to the invitation, and 24% of respondents (n = 1,215) were willing to participate (net = 5.5%). However, eventual recruitment rates, following training, were low (2.1% of those approached). Recruitment from areas of high socioeconomic deprivation and among ethnic minority communities was low. Eighteen sets of health state descriptions were considered over 14 months. 74% of panel members carried out at least one valuation task. People from areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation and unmarried people were less likely to participate. An average of 41% of panel members expressed preferences on each set of descriptions. Compliance ranged from 3% to 100%.
Conclusion
It is feasible to establish a panel of members of the general public to express preferences on a wide range of health state descriptions using the Internet, although differential recruitment and attrition are important challenges. Particular attention to recruitment and retention in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation and among ethnic minority communities is necessary. Nevertheless, the panel approach to preference measurement using the Internet offers the potential to provide specific utility data in a responsive manner for use in economic evaluations and to address some of the outstanding methodological uncertainties in this field.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-4-90
PMCID: PMC1716763  PMID: 17129380
18.  Impact of discussion on preferences elicited in a group setting 
Background
The completeness of preferences is assumed as one of the axioms of expected utility theory but has been subject to little empirical study.
Methods
Fifteen non-health professionals was recruited and familiarised with the standard gamble technique. The group then met five times over six months and preferences were elicited independently on 41 scenarios. After individual valuation, the group discussed the scenarios, following which preferences could be changed. Changes made were described and summary measures (mean and median) before and after discussion compared using paired t test and Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. Semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out to explore attitudes to discussing preferences. These were transcribed, read by two investigators and emergent themes described.
Results
Sixteen changes (3.6%) were made to preferences by seven (47%) of the fifteen members. The difference between individual preference values before and after discussion ranged from -0.025 to 0.45. The average effect on the group mean was 0.0053. No differences before and after discussion were statistically significant. The group valued discussion highly and suggested it brought four main benefits: reassurance; improved procedural performance; increased group cohesion; satisfying curiosity.
Conclusion
The hypothesis that preferences are incomplete cannot be rejected for a proportion of respondents. However, brief discussion did not result in substantial number of changes to preferences and these did not have significant impact on summary values for the group, suggesting that incompleteness, if present, may not have an important effect on cost-utility analyses.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-4-22
PMCID: PMC1440847  PMID: 16571106

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