Objectives: We conducted a systematic review of quantitative research regarding patients' preferences, perspectives and values for ventilation among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. Our objective was to explore the feasibility and desirability of incorporating patient preferences within the health technology assessment (HTA) process by working through a case study.
Methods: Medical and economic databases were searched for studies published in English from 1990 through March 4, 2011. Studies were selected based on title and abstract. Due to the heterogeneity of the studies, data were analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach.
Results: Among 1833 identified citations, twelve studies met our inclusion criteria. Ten of these studies pertained to COPD patient preferences for ventilation. Results indicate that a significant proportion of COPD patients are willing to forgo ventilation, particularly when it is expressed as "indefinite life support" (60-78 percent) rather than as temporary modality. Results indicate that patient preferences for mechanical or noninvasive ventilation cannot be predicted by covariates (e.g., age, quality of life) or by others who are frequently called upon to make decisions are their behalf.
Conclusions: We found that it is indeed feasible to conduct a systematic review of quantitative preference-related evidence for an HTA topic. However, the process of conducting this preference-related case study also revealed several challenges because there is a high degree of variation in taxonomy, instrumentation, and study design. Therefore, we do not recommend it as a routine part of the HTA process, but we suggest that it is a promising area to pursue for preference-sensitive technological decisions.