Using conjoint analysis to estimate healthy-year equivalents for acute conditions: an application to vasomotor symptoms

Value Health. Jan-Feb 2009;12(1):146-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4733.2008.00391.x.


Objective: Conventional standard gamble and time trade-off methods may be inappropriate for eliciting preferences for some health states because both require subjects to make trade-offs between a morbid health state and death. Thus, the objective of this study is to demonstrate the use of conjoint analysis to obtain time trade-off estimates of healthy-year equivalents (HYEs) for clinically relevant durations and severities of acute, self-limiting, or nonfatal conditions such as vasomotor symptoms.

Methods: A self-administered, web-enabled, graded-pairs conjoint-analysis survey was developed to elicit women's preferences for reducing the frequency and severity of vasomotor symptoms (daytime hot flushes and night sweats). Observed trade-offs between symptom duration and symptom relief were used to calculate HYEs for different severities and durations of vasomotor symptoms.

Results: A total of 523 women with a mean age of 52 years completed the survey. For these women, an improvement from severe to moderate vasomotor symptoms yields a gain of 4.44 HYEs, and an improvement from moderate to mild vasomotor symptoms over 1 year yields a gain of 4.62 HYEs over a period of 7 years. HYE gains for symptom relief are larger for younger women than for older women.

Conclusions: Conjoint analysis is a feasible method for estimating HYEs for acute, self-limiting, or nonfatal conditions. This approach may provide an alternative utility-elicitation method when conventional standard gamble and time trade-off methods are inappropriate to the decision context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years