Exploring the social value of health-care interventions: a stated preference discrete choice experiment

Health Econ. 2009 Aug;18(8):951-76. doi: 10.1002/hec.1414.


Much of the literature on distributive preferences covers specific considerations in isolation, and recent reviews have suggested that research is required to inform on the relative importance of various key considerations. Responding to this research recommendation, we explore the distributive preferences of the general public using a set of generic social value judgments. We report on a discrete choice experiment (DCE) survey, using face-to-face interviews, in a sample of the general population (n=259). The context for the survey was resource allocation decisions in the UK National Health Service, using the process of health technology appraisal as an example. The attributes used covered health improvement, value for money, severity of health, and availability of other treatments, and it is the first such survey to use cost-effectiveness in scenarios described to the general public. Results support the feasibility and acceptability of the DCE approach for the elicitation of public preferences. Choice data are used to consider the relative importance of changes across attribute levels, and to model utility scores and relative probabilities for the full set of combinations of attributes and levels in the experimental design used (n=64). Results allow the relative social value of health technology scenarios to be explored. Findings add to a sparse literature on 'social' preferences, and show that DCE data can be used to consider the strength of preference over alternative scenarios in a priority-setting context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Care Rationing / organization & administration*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Values*
  • State Medicine
  • Young Adult