Incorporating preference heterogeneity in economic evaluation: informing "realistic medicine"

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The Chief Medical Officer in Scotland recently outlined her vision for realistic medicine, with key objectives to: (1) build a personalised approach to care; (2) promote shared decision making between patients and their doctors; (3) reduce unnecessary variation in practice and outcomes; (4) reduce harm and waste; (5) improve risk management; and (6) promote improvement and innovation. Some key aspects of this vision are shared decision-making and personalized care, where patients are guided to the treatment that provides the most value to them. This could potentially reduce healthcare costs by avoiding wasteful treatments that patients might not value.

Traditional economic evaluation methods focus on the costs and benefits of different alternatives treatment, using a measure of benefit that reflects population-averaged preferences for health outcomes. The aim of this thesis is to examine the effect of incorporating preference heterogeneity into the economic evaluation of health care interventions, and to see how policy recommendations might differ from those based on traditional evaluation methods. Incorporating preference heterogeneity into treatment choice could then lead to a more beneficial and more efficient allocation of healthcare resources.

PhD student:  Divya Mohan

Supervisors: Graham Scotland, Sebastian Heidenreich


Mohan, D., Scotland, G. and Heidenreich, S. (2018) 'From theory to practice: selecting the right case study', School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition Postgraduate Researcher Winter Conference, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 29-30 November 2018.