Health outcomes in economic evaluation: who should value health?

British Medical Bulletin
Volume 97 Issue 1 March 2011
Eugena Stamuli

Health outcomes in economic evaluation: who should value health?
Br Med Bull (2011) 97(1): 197-210 first published online January 31, 2011 doi:10.1093/bmb/ldr001

The valuation of health states is an integral part of economic evaluation studies. The source of these valuations (general public vs. patients) is surrounded by controversy. Health state values generated by the general public are often different compared with those of patients. General public values may not account for adaptation of the patients; patients’ values potentially incorporate self-interest. Decisions on the appropriate source of health values ultimately depend on the specific decision-making context and objectives of the evaluation. Differences in valuations and implications for decision-making should be explicitly addressed. Further research should systematically identify circumstances in which public and patients’ valuations diverge. There appears ground for development of methods that allow the simultaneous incorporation of patients and public preferences. Existing literature which discusses the issues around the health state valuation is summarized.