What is the evidence for the performance of generic preference-based measures? A systematic overview of reviews

Eur J Health Econ. 2018 May;19(4):557-570. doi: 10.1007/s10198-017-0902-x. Epub 2017 May 30.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Patient Preference*
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires