A catalog of dermatology utilities: a measure of the burden of skin diseases

J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2004 Mar;9(2):160-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1087-0024.2003.09112.x.


Utilities are measures of quality of life that reflect the strength of individuals' preferences or values for a particular health outcome. As such, utilities represent a measure of disease burden. The aim of this article is to introduce the concept of utilities to the dermatology community and to present a catalog of dermatology utilities obtained from direct patient interviews. Our data are based on 236 total subjects from Grady Hospital (Atlanta, GA), Stanford Medical Center (Palo Alto, CA), and Parkland Hospital (Dallas, TX). The mean time trade-off utilities ranged from 0.640 for blistering disorders to 1.000 for alopecia, cosmetic, and urticaria. The mean utility across all diagnoses was 0.943. We present utilities for 17 diagnostic categories and discuss the underlying reasons for the significant disease burden that these utilities represent. We also present these dermatology categories relative to noncutaneous diseases to place the cutaneous utilities in perspective and to compare the burden of disease. We have demonstrated that skin diseases have considerable burden of disease and provided a preliminary repository of utility data for future researchers and policy makers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Dermatology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Skin Diseases / psychology*