There is an increasing interest in using data derived from ordinal methods, particularly data derived from discrete choice experiments (DCEs), to estimate the cardinal values for health states to calculate quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Ordinal measurement strategies such as DCE may have considerable practical advantages over more conventional cardinal measurement techniques, e.g. time trade-off (TTO), because they may not require such a high degree of abstract reasoning. However, there are a number of challenges to deriving the cardinal values for health states using ordinal data, including anchoring the values on the full health-dead scale used to calculate QALYs. This paper reports on a study that deals with these problems in the context of using two ordinal techniques, DCE and ranking, to derive the cardinal values for health states derived from a condition-specific sexual health measure. The results were compared with values generated using a commonly used cardinal valuation technique, the TTO. This study raises some important issues about the use of ordinal data to produce cardinal health state valuations.
Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.