Objectives: To compare quantitatively the discriminatory power of the EQ-5D, HUI2 and HUI3 in terms of absolute and relative informativity, using Shannon's indices.
Methods: EQ-5D and HUI2/3 data completed by a sample of the general adult US population (N = 3,691) were used. Five dimensions allowed head-to-head comparison of informativity: Mobility/Ambulation; Anxiety/Depression/Emotion; Pain/Discomfort (EQ-5D; HUI2; HUI3); Self-Care (EQ-5D; HUI2); and Cognition (HUI2; HUI3). Shannon's index and Shannon's Evenness index were used to assess absolute and relative informativity, both by dimension and by instrument as a whole.
Results: Absolute informativity was highest for HUI3, with the largest differences in Pain/Discomfort and Cognition. Relative informativity was highest for EQ-5D, with the largest differences in Mobility/Ambulation and Anxiety/Depression/Emotion. Absolute informativity by instrument was consistently highest for HUI3 and lowest for EQ-5D, and relative informativity was highest for EQ-5D and lowest for HUI3.
Discussion: Performance in terms of absolute and relative informativity of the common dimensions of the three instruments varies over dimensions. Several dimensions are suboptimal: Pain/Discomfort (EQ-5D) seems too crude with only 3 levels, and the level descriptions of Ambulation (HUI3) and Self-Care (HUI2) could be improved. In absence of a formal measure, Shannon's indices provide useful measures for assessing discriminatory power of utility instruments.