PREFER

Factors influencing the value of patient preference studies

2018-09-26

Finding out what patients prefer is becoming increasingly important in Industry, HTA and regulatory decision-making. The PREFER project has looked at what the literature can contribute to our understanding of when and how to ask patients what they prefer.

Eline van Overbeeke
Eline van Overbeeke, PREFER PhD student

Industry, Health Technology assessment bodies and regulators have limited experience with patient preference studies. A literature review, just published in Drug Discovery Today, is a first step in towards developing guidelines and recommendations. The paper lists factors and situations that can help inform stakeholders on how to conduct, assess and use patient preference studies in their decision-making, along the entire life cycle of medical products. The article also identifies different phases in the medical product life cycle where patient preference studies can help support decision-making.

The authors suggest that to maximize the validity and value of results from patient preference studies, industry, regulators, and health technology assessment bodies need more experience in conducting this kind of studies. The literature also suggests that in order to increase the use of patient preferences in decision-making, stakeholders need more guidance.

Conducting a patient preference study is a long process. Along the way, there are many factors that will influence the value of the study for stakeholders. The review shows that there are some situations and decisions that are more sensitive to patient preferences than others. According to the authors, finding these situations can inform stakeholders on when to conduct patient preference studies. 

Eline van Overbeeke, one of the authors, says patient centeredness is key, not only in the design and conduct of the study, but also in the communication of results. When choosing a preference method, and designing an instrument, there are a number of factors that can affect the validity of results. 

Moreover, capturing differences in patients’ preferences (what is known as “heterogeneity”) will have a big impact on the value of the results coming out of the study. If we are able to capture these differences, the heterogeneity could demonstrate how some groups may be more likely to accept a risk than others would be. 

Read the article

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