Medical Decision Making (MDM)
July–August 2012; 32 (4)
Theme: Patients’ Choices: Perceived Risk, Health State Values, and Decisions
A Direct Method for Measuring Discounting and QALYs More Easily and Reliably
Arthur E. Attema, Han Bleichrodt, and Peter P. Wakker
Med Decis Making July–August 2012 32: 583-593, first published on June 15, 2012 doi:10.1177/0272989X12451654
Time discounting and quality of life are two important factors in evaluations of medical interventions. The measurement of these two factors is complicated because they interact. Existing methods either simply assume one factor given, based on heuristic assumptions, or invoke complicating extraneous factors, such as risk, that generate extra biases. The authors introduce a method for measuring discounting (and then quality of life) that involves no extraneous factors and that avoids distorting interactions. Their method is considerably simpler and more realistic for subjects than existing methods. It is entirely choice based and thus can be founded on economic rationality requirements. An experiment demonstrates the feasibility of this method and its advantages over classical methods.