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A Note on the Expected Biases in Conventional Iterative Health State Valuation Protocols

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Laura Ternent


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Background. Typical health state valuation exercises use tradeoff methods, such as the time tradeoff or the standard gamble, involving a series of iterated questions so that a value for each health state by each individual respondent is elicited. This iterative process is a source of potential biases, but this has not received much attention in the health state valuation literature. The issue has been researched widely in the contingent valuation (CV) literature, which elicits the monetary value of hypothetical outcomes. Methods. The lessons learned in the CV literature are revisited in the context of the design and administration of health state valuations. The article introduces the main known biases in the CV literature and then examines how each might affect conventional iterative health state valuations. Results. Of the 8 main types of biases, starting point bias, range bias, and incentive incompatibility bias are found to be potentially relevant. Furthermore, the magnitude and direction of the bases are unlikely to be uniform and depend on the range of the value (e. g., between 0 and 0.5). Limitation. This is an overview article, and the conclusions drawn need to be tested empirically. Conclusions. Health state valuation studies, like CV studies, are susceptible to a number of possible biases that affect the resulting values. Their magnitude and direction are unlikely to be uniform, and thus empirical studies are needed to diagnose the problem and, if necessary, to address it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ternent L, Tsuchiya A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Medical Decision Making

Year: 2013

Volume: 33

Issue: 4

Pages: 544-546

Print publication date: 01/05/2013

Online publication date: 03/03/2013

ISSN (print): 0272-989X

ISSN (electronic): 1552-681X

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0272989X12475093


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