Objective: To adjust patients' time trade-off (TTO) scores using information on their utility functions for survival time to derive a measure of health state utility equivalent to the standard gamble (SG).
Methods: A sample of 199 cardiovascular patients were asked three TTO and SG questions (to assess their own health state), and three certainty equivalent questions (to assess their utility function for survival time) in an interview.
Results: Patient's utility functions for time were increasingly concave, but being unable to model this successfully, a constant function with an averaged level of concavity was used. The raw TTO scores were significantly higher than SG scores, while the adjusted TTO scores were equivalent to the SG.
Conclusions: Raw time trade-off scores will give biased estimates of health state utility when patients' utility functions for time are not linear, but these can be adjusted to yield true utilities. The constant proportional risk-posture assumption of the conventional QALY model, on which previous attempts to adjust time trade-offs have been based, was not supported by the data.