, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 67-76
Date: 10 Mar 2009

Towards self-determination in quality of life research: a dialogic approach

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Abstract

Health-related quality of life measures aim to assess patients’ subjective experience in order to gauge an increasingly wide variety of health care issues such as patient needs; satisfaction; side effects; quality of care; disease progression and cost effectiveness. Their popularity is undoubtedly due to a larger initiative to provide patient-centered care. The use of patient perspectives to guide health care improvements and spending is rooted in the idea that we must respect patients as self-determining agents. In this paper I look at the two main orientations to quality of life measurement: standardized and individualized measures. I argue that while these measures are attempts to provide for patient self-determination, they both fail to do so. In their place I suggest a new approach which overcomes their respective difficulties: a dialogic approach.