Health Preference Research: An Overview

  • Benjamin M. CraigEmail author
  • Emily Lancsar
  • Axel C. Mühlbacher
  • Derek S. Brown
  • Jan Ostermann

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 policy makers can better meet the patient’s needs. For this, researchers typically design and conduct 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 trade-offs (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. The effect of the attributes on choice defines the value of health and health-related goods and services from the perspective of a target population. Subgroup analysis can be used to test for distinct preferences...



The authors gratefully acknowledge the administrative support for the preparation of this paper from the IAHPR. Drs. Craig, Mühlbacher, Lanscar, and Brown serve on the Board of the IAHPR Foundation. Drs. Craig and Mühlbacher are also the founding co-chairs of the Health Preference Research special interest group at the International Society of Quality of Life Research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Benjamin M. Craig, Emily Lancsar, Axel C. Mühlbacher, Derek S. Brown, and Jan Ostermann have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin M. Craig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Lancsar
    • 2
  • Axel C. Mühlbacher
    • 3
  • Derek S. Brown
    • 4
  • Jan Ostermann
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Health Economics, Faculty of Business and EconomicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Hochschule Neubrandenburg, Fachbereich Gesundheit und PflegeInstitut Gesundheitsökonomie und MedizinmanagementNeubrandenburgGermany
  4. 4.Brown SchoolWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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