Objective: To assess the evidence on the validity and responsiveness of five commonly used preference-based instruments, the EQ-5D, SF-6D, HUI3, 15D and AQoL, by undertaking a review of reviews.
Methods: Four databases were investigated using a strategy refined through a highly sensitive filter for systematic reviews. References were screened and a search for grey literature was performed. Identified citations were scrutinized against pre-defined eligibility criteria and data were extracted using a customized extraction template. Evidence on known group validity, convergent validity and responsiveness was extracted and reviewed by narrative synthesis. Quality of the included reviews was assessed using a modified version of the AMSTAR checklist.
Results: Thirty reviews were included, sixteen of which were of excellent or good quality. The body of evidence, covering more than 180 studies, was heavily skewed towards EQ-5D, with significantly fewer studies investigating HUI3 and SF-6D, and very few the 15D and AQoL. There was also lack of head-to-head comparisons between GPBMs and the tests reported by the reviews were often weak. Where there was evidence, EQ-5D, SF-6D, HUI3, 15D and AQoL seemed generally valid and responsive instruments, although not for all conditions. Evidence was not consistently reported across reviews.
Conclusions: Although generally valid, EQ-5D, SF-6D and HUI3 suffer from some problems and perform inconsistently in some populations. The lack of head-to-head comparisons and the poor reporting impedes the comparative assessment of the performance of GPBMs. This highlights the need for large comparative studies designed to test instruments' performance.
Keywords: Preference based measures; Psychometric properties; Quality of life; Review.