Public involvement in health care priority setting: an overview of methods for eliciting values

Health Expect. 1999 Dec;2(4):222-234. doi: 10.1046/j.1369-6513.1999.00062.x.


There is increasing interest, in the UK and elsewhere, in involving the public in health care priority setting. At the same time, however, there is evidence of lack of clarity about the objectives of some priority setting projects and also about the role of public involvement. Further, some projects display an apparent ignorance of both long-standing theoretical literature and practical experience of methodologies for eliciting values in health care and related fields. After a brief examination of the context of health care priority setting and public involvement, this paper describes a range of different approaches to eliciting values. These approaches are critically examined on a number of dimensions including the type of choice allowed to respondents and the implications of aggregation of values across individuals. Factors which affect the appropriateness of the different techniques to specific applications are discussed. A check-list of questions to be asked when selecting techniques is presented.