Introduction. When health varies over time, the standard quality-adjusted life year model operates under the assumptions of time utility independence within each health state and additive independence between health states. These assumptions can be relaxed by an integral assessment of disease severity over time. The authors present the annual profile method (APM), which values health profiles on a 1-year base, and test the APM for feasibility, consistency, and test-retest reliability. Methods. A population panel, general practitioners, medical advisers, and a panel of the Dutch Consumers Association valued vignettes for 46 disease stages using the visual analog scale (VAS) and time tradeoff (TTO) methods. Vignettes contained disease-specific information, a generic description (EQ-6D5L), a description of the disease course over time, and a visual representation of the disease. Feasibility was tested by missing and inconsistent responses. Consistency between and within panels was tested with a generalizability study, analysis of variance, and standard correlation coefficients. Test-retest reliability was tested with a generalizability study and intra-class correlation coefficients. Results. Missing and inconsistent responses were < 2.6%. The valuations were consistent across panels, with generalizability coefficients of 0.78 (VAS) and 0.64 (TTO). Within the main population panel, internal consistency was satisfactory and the influence of background characteristics negligible. Test-retest reliability was high, with generalizability coefficients of 0.90 (VAS) and 0.72 (TTO). Conclusion. Feasibility and reliability of the APM for realistic health profiles are good to excellent. The APM is a promising step to bridge the gap between the quality-adjusted life year methodology and clinical reality.

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Medical Decision Making: an international journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Janssen, B., Birnie, E., & Bonsel, G. (2008). Feasibility and reliability of the annual profile method for deriving QALYs for short-term health conditions. Medical Decision Making: an international journal, 28(4), 500–510. doi:10.1177/0272989X07312711