Investigating Choice Experiments for Preferences of Older People (ICEPOP): Evaluative spaces in health economics

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Journal Article
Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 2008, 13 (SUPPL. 3), pp. 31 - 37
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This paper deals with three concerns about the evaluative framework that is currently dominant within health economics. These concerns are: that the evaluative framework is concerned entirely with health; that the evaluative framework has an individualistic focus on patients alone; and that the methods used to estimate 'health' within the current evaluative framework could be improved both in terms of the generation of descriptive systems and in using valuation methods that rely less on people's ability to express their preferences on a cardinal scale. In exploring these issues the Investigating Choice Experiments for Preferences of Older People (ICEPOP) programme has explicitly focused on both the topic of older people and the methods of discrete choice experiments. A capability index has been developed and attributes for an economic measure of end-of-life care are currently being generated, providing the possibility of extending the evaluative framework beyond health alone. A measure of carer's experience and a framework for extending measurement in end-of-life care to loved ones are both also in development, thus extending the evaluative framework beyond the patient alone. Rigorous qualitative methods employing an iterative approach have been developed for use in constructing attributes, and best-worst scaling has been utilized to reduce task complexity and provide insights into heterogeneity. There are a number of avenues for further research in all these areas, but in particular there is need for greater attention to be paid to the theory underlying the evaluative framework within health economics. © The Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd 2008.
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