An introduction to utility measurement in health care

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1995 Apr;16(4):240-7. doi: 10.1086/647097.


Key decisions regarding the introduction and optimal use of health technologies often are made on an ad hoc basis. Quantitative information on effectiveness, if incorporated into the decision-making process, would establish a reasoned and defensible basis for the introduction and optimal use of therapeutic technologies. Utility measures provide a single summary score of effectiveness which, when combined with cost information, permits the calculation of cost-utility ratios for alternative technologies. A number of techniques have been developed to elicit utilities, including standard gamble, time trade-off, rating scales, the Quality of Well-Being Scale, and the Health Utility Index. No single method has been accepted yet as the gold standard. Selection therefore must be guided by the specific objectives of the assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Decision Theory
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation / economics
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / methods*
  • Therapeutics