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Open Access Research

A comparison of four different approaches to measuring health utility in depressed patients

Nicholas Turner1*, John Campbell2, Tim J Peters3, Nicola Wiles1 and Sandra Hollinghurst4

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Mental Health, Addiction and Suicide Research, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK

2 Primary Care Research Group, Peninsula Medical School, Smeall Building, St Luke’s Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK

3 School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol, 69 St Michael’s Hill, Bristol BS2 8DZ, UK

4 Centre for Academic Primary Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, 11:81  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-81

Published: 9 May 2013

Abstract

Background

A variety of instruments are used to measure health related quality of life. Few data exist on the performance and agreement of different instruments in a depressed population. The aim of this study was to investigate agreement between, and suitability of, the EQ-5D-3L, EQ-5D Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-5D VAS), SF-6D and SF-12 new algorithm for measuring health utility in depressed patients.

Methods

The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland and Altman approaches were used to assess agreement. Instrument sensitivity was analysed by: (1) plotting utility scores for the instruments against one another; (2) correlating utility scores and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)); and (3) using Tukey’s procedure. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis assessed instrument responsiveness to change. Acceptability was assessed by comparing instrument completion rates.

Results

The overall ICC was 0.57. Bland and Altman plots showed wide limits of agreement for each pair wise comparison, except between the SF-6D and SF-12 new algorithm. Plots of utility scores displayed ’ceiling effects’ in the EQ-5D-3L index and ’floor effects’ in the SF-6D and SF-12 new algorithm. All instruments showed a negative monotonic relationship with BDI, but the EQ-5D-3L index and EQ-5D VAS could not differentiate between depression severity sub-groups. The SF-based instruments were better able to detect changes in health state over time. There was no difference in completion rates of the four instruments.

Conclusions

There was a lack of agreement between utility scores generated by the different instruments. According to the criteria of sensitivity, responsiveness and acceptability that we applied, the SF-6D and SF-12 may be more suitable for the measurement of health related utility in a depressed population than the EQ-5D-3L, which is the instrument currently recommended by NICE.

Keywords:
Depression; EQ-5D; SF-6D; Health related utility; QALYs