The patient viewpoint is essential for HTA because patients can best represent the experience of living with their conditions. HTA bodies have well established procedures for including the views of patients and other stakeholders into the recommendations they make. Information on patient preferences is most often anecdotal testimony obtained in advisory committee proceedings, through public meetings, or through consultation. While these contributions make sure the patient perspective is used in the decision-making process, it does mean that HTA consideration of patient testimony is usually qualitative.
As a result, its influence on decision making is not always obvious to those who were not involved in the deliberation. There is growing interest in using methods such as quantitative patient preference data in HTA as they could improve the transparency of using patient input in HTA.
Understanding and incorporating patient preferences into provider care delivery should prove useful to improving patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. With these preferences in mind, providers can tailor care strategies capable of being more effective and resulting in higher patient satisfaction.
In fact, as patients become healthcare consumers, understanding their needs may have assumed greater importance. Healthcare organizations that manage to incorporate patient preferences into their practices may even be more likely to succeed in a changing reimbursement structure than those who do not.
Patient preferences studies are surveys which ask patients to choose between different treatment options and how they perceive potential risks and benefits of new treatments. These studies measure what type of treatment is more important to a patient group and could tell HTAs the difference between specific treatment characteristics. Patient preferences is the term used to describe the data captured for both actual and hypothetical treatment attributes and can help identify what is most important to patients.
Gathered data can provide valuable information about:
- Which benefits and risks are most important to affected patients
- What benefit-risk tradeoffs are acceptable from the patient perspective
- How do these patients think about these tradeoffs?
- Are there clinically relevant subgroups of patients that would accept a particular benefit-risk profile and/or choose one treatment option over other alternatives
Other potential uses:
- Inform endpoints or effect size for regulatory studies
- Inform subgroup considerations
- Labeling changes / expanded indications
- Shared medical decision-making