What were they thinking when providing preference measurements for generic health states? The evidence for HUI3
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BACKGROUND: Multi-attribute generic preference-based measures of health-related quality of life are used as comprehensive outcome measures. Typically preferences for health states defined by these systems are elicited from a representative sample of the general population. An important element in that elicitation process is the information that respondents were instructed to consider in providing their responses. METHODS: A random sample of community-dwelling respondents in Canada was surveyed in face-to-face interviews. Respondents provided preference scores for selected Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3) health states. Respondents also answered questions about the most important attributes and the importance of various impacts of the health states in providing their preference scores. RESULTS: Fifty per cent of respondents reported that they focussed on two, and 21% on three, attributes of the eight HUI3 attributes. Each of the eight attributes was identified as important; pain (49%), vision (37%), cognition (34%), emotion (28%), and ambulation (28%) were the most important. The null hypothesis that all of the attributes were equally important was rejected (p < 0.001). With respect to the impacts, 89% of respondents indicated that the ability to take care of oneself was quite or very important; similarly 76% reported the same for impact on family life, 69% for impact on the happiness of others, 61% for the impact on their ability to work, and 42% for the impact on their leisure activities. The null hypothesis that all of the impacts were equally important was rejected (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In providing preference scores for HUI3 health states, respondents thoughtfully examined the implications of the health states for their ability to live, work, socialize, and function.
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