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Health Preference Research

Health preference research (HPR) is dedicated to understanding the value of health and health-related goods and services. The mantra in HPR is, “Choice defines value.” With a better understanding of what patients want, providers, regulators, and policymakers can better meet the patient’s needs. For this, researchers commonly design and conduct studies such as discrete choice experiments (DCEs), a survey method that quantitatively measures what people want. Unlike in ordinary consumption, choices regarding health are often difficult to observe, are infrequently made, and entail complex and challenging tradeoffs (e.g., the quality vs. quantity of life). In DCEs, participants are asked to choose between discrete alternatives based on their preferences and the attributes of each alternative. 

What is the Health Preference Research Special Interest Group?

This SIG provides a platform for professional interaction between health preference researchers as well as students and new investigators interested in this field. It collaborates with existing HPR groups, particularly with the International Academy of Health Preference Research (IAHPR), an established specialist group of HPR researchers. Our field is broad, extending from methodological issues regarding the experimental design and analysis of preference evidence to the application of preference evidence (e.g., quality-adjusted life years, value of a statistical life, willingness-to-pay) for regulatory, clinical and individual decision-making. One of our fundamental questions is how attributes of health interventions (e.g., HIV testing services) may influence their demand within target populations, which is critical for the advancement of public health and safety. 

Health Preference Research SIG Objectives

Our Aim: to improve decisions about health and healthcare throughout the world by developing, promoting, and supporting health preference research with the widest possible applicability across low- and high-income settings.

Our objectives include:

  • To foster and support an international community of researchers whose activities support health preference research;
  • To ensure access to the accumulated research expertise of IAHPR members and to actively promote the transfer of knowledge, evidence, and technologies regarding the use, analysis, and interpretation of health preference research;
  • To support promising early-career researchers in the field of health preference research through involvement in SIG activities; and
  • To provide a visible platform to encourage cross-specialty learning and an encouraging environment to share learnings from non-health preference research into HPR.

Our activities:

As a start, to achieve the objectives above, our activities will include:

  1. To host a moderated discussion list for HPR SIG members to aid dissemination of news within the field in complement with communications through iHEA mailings (e.g., iHEA News) and social media channels;
  2. To produce a series of webinars on topics related to health preference research in collaboration with scientists around the world. Webinars are particularly useful to reach scientists who may not be able to afford travel to biennial congresses (e.g., low- and middle-income countries) and their recordings may be more accessible across multiple time zones;
  3. To conduct an annual survey of SIG members to receive their feedback, assess their interest in health preference research and to understand their experience with alternative methods (design, fieldwork, analysis, and application);
  4. As for the biennial iHEA congress, we propose:
  • To coordinate the submission of an organized session to maximizes synergies across individual studies, for review by the Scientific Committee;
  • To work with the Scientific Committee to establish a health preference research track within the program that avoids overlap in the presentation of health preference methods, evidence and/or country focus;
  • To coordinate the submission of a proposal for a pre-congress workshop on health preference research; and
  • To arrange an informal networking event (e.g., dinner) at the meeting that encourages inclusive and open interactions.

These activities can evolve as useful. 

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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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