Developing Multiattribute Health Indexes
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This article reviews the procedures for developing a multiattribute health index for use in population health studies and program evaluations. The development of such indexes involves two steps: 1) the creation of a multiattribute health state classification system; and 2) the mapping of the system into a single metric scale. The system must be relevant for its intended use and as concise as possible. Because a limit exists in the number of attributes that can be included in the system while maintaining reliable measurement, there may be a trade-off between specificity of detail and breadth of coverage. When mapping the system into a scale of cardinal values, five issues arise: 1) the selection of a scaling technique; 2) the use of mathematic models to quantify health; 3) the selection of anchor points; 4) the selection of raters; and 5) the identification of factors that influence raters' judgments. The article reviews the procedures that are used, discusses the issues that arise, and proposes some solutions for the development of multiattribute health indexes.
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