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Utility Functions for Life Years and Health Status

Joseph S. Pliskin, Donald S. Shepard and Milton C. Weinstein
Operations Research
Vol. 28, No. 1, Design Analysis Special Issue (Jan. - Feb., 1980), pp. 206-224
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/172147
Page Count: 19
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Utility Functions for Life Years and Health Status
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Abstract

Multiattribute utility theory is used to suggest a form for a utility function over life years and health status. The analysis is motivated by consideration of two diseases-coronary artery disease and chronic kidney disease-in which the choice of treatment may depend on the patient's tradeoff between these attributes. Certain plausible independence properties lead to a quasi-additive utility function for life years and health status. Particular attention is given to utility functions for life years exhibiting constant proportional risk posture. An empirical assessment shows that stated preferences appear consistent with this functional form. The derived utility functions have been applied to the treatment decision of whether to prescribe coronary artery bypass graft surgery in patients with coronary artery disease.

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