Background: Patient preferences (PP), which are investigated in PP studies using qualitative or quantitative methods, are a growing area of interest to the following stakeholders involved in the medical product lifecycle: academics, health technology assessment bodies, payers, industry, patients, physicians, and regulators. However, the use of PP in decisions along the medical product lifecycle remains limited. As the adoption of PP heavily relies on these stakeholders, knowledge of their perceptions of PP is critical.
Objective: This study aimed to characterize stakeholders' attitudes, needs, and concerns with respect to PP in decision making along the medical product lifecycle.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n = 143) were conducted with academics (n = 24), health technology assessment/payer representatives (n = 24), industry representatives (n = 24), patients, caregivers and patient representatives (n = 24), physicians (n = 24), and regulators (n = 23) from seven European countries and the USA. Interviews were conducted between April and August 2017. The framework method was used to organize the data and identify themes and key findings in each interviewed stakeholder group.
Results: Interviewees reported being unfamiliar (43%), moderately familiar (42%), or very familiar (15%) with preference methods and studies. Interviewees across stakeholder groups generally supported the idea of using PP in the medical product lifecycle but expressed mixed opinions about the feasibility and impact of using PP in decision making. Interviewees from all stakeholder groups stressed the importance of increasing stakeholders' understanding of the concept of PP and preference methods and ensuring patients' understanding of the questions asked in PP studies. Key concerns and needs in each interviewed stakeholder group were as follows: (1) academics: investigating the validity, reliability, reproducibility, and generalizability of preference methods; (2) health technology assessment/payer representatives: developing quality criteria for evaluating PP studies and gaining insights into how to weigh them in reimbursement/payer decision making; (3) industry representatives: obtaining guidance on PP studies and recognition on the importance of PP from decision makers; (4) patients, caregivers, and patient representatives: providing an incentive and adequate information towards patients when participating in PP studies; (5) physicians: avoiding bias as a result of commercial agendas in PP studies and clarifying how to deal with subjective and emotional elements when measuring PP; and (6) regulators: avoiding the misuse of PP study results to overrule the traditional efficacy and safety criteria used for marketing authorization and obtaining robust PP study results.
Conclusions: Despite the interest all interviewed stakeholder groups reported in PP, the effective use of PP in decision making across the medical product lifecycle is currently hampered by a lack of standardization and consensus on how to both measure and use PP.