Healthcare Triage: Assessing Utilities – How Much Risk Are You Willing to Take?

When we are judging the cost-effectiveness of a treatment or intervention, we’re really asking how much bang for the buck we’re getting for our healthcare spending. That can be relatively easy when we’re talking about life and death. But how do we measure improvements in quality? The most widely used method is through the use of utility values, and we’ll show you how we calculate those in this week’s Healthcare Triage:

A lot of this can be found in a paper we published in the Journal of Pediatrics, but it may be gated. Here’s the key results for those of you who are interested. These are utility values parents gave us for their children for a variety of health states:

Standard GambleTime Tradeoff
Disease stateMeanMedianMeanMedian
Perfect health11
Otitis media with pain0.9610.971
Mild ADHD0.9410.931
10-day hospitalization0.9410.951
Moderate gastroenteritis0.9310.941
Moderate allergic reaction0.9310.931
Severe ADHD0.920.990.90.99
Mild hearing loss0.920.990.930.99
Moderate hearing loss0.910.990.920.99
Severe allergic reaction0.910.990.910.99
Mild intermittent asthma0.910.990.910.98
Mild persistent asthma0.90.980.910.99
Severe gastroenteritis0.910.921
Mild bilateral vision loss0.890.970.910.99
Moderate persistent asthma0.880.970.910.97
Monocular blindness0.880.960.890.96
10-day intensive care unit hospitalization0.870.980.911
Mild cerebral palsy0.870.960.880.96
Severe hearing loss0.860.940.860.94
Mild seizure disorder0.850.960.860.96
Moderate bilateral vision loss0.850.940.860.94
Mild mental retardation0.840.910.830.93
Moderate seizure disorder0.840.920.830.9
Severe persistent asthma0.830.930.850.93
Severe bilateral vision loss0.810.890.810.89
Moderate mental retardation0.790.860.790.87
Moderate cerebral palsy0.760.80.760.86
Severe seizure disorder0.70.750.710.8
Severe cerebral palsy0.60.50.550.5
Severe mental retardation0.590.50.510.5


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