EuHEA Seminar - Paul Schneider (University of Sheffield)

Title: "A new online tool for valuing health states: eliciting personal utility functions for the EQ-5D-5L"

  • Date: 13 October 2021 from 14:30 to 15:30

  • Event location: On-line (Zoom)

Paul Schneider
Paul Schneider



Standard valuation methods, such as TTO or DCE are inefficient. They require data from hundreds if not thousands of participants to generate value sets for health descriptive systems. Here, we present the Online elicitation of Personal Utility Functions (OPUF) tool; a new type of online survey for valuing EQ-5D-5L health states using more efficient, compositional preference elicitation methods, which even allow estimating value sets on the individual level. The aims of this study are to report on the development of the tool, and to test the feasibility of using it to obtain individual-level value sets for the EQ-5D-5L.


We adapted the PUF method, an in-person interview technique, focused on reflection and deliberation, previously proposed by Devlin et al., for use as a standalone online tool. For this, we applied an iterative design approach: five rounds of qualitative interviews, and one quantitative pre-pilot were conducted to get feedback on the different tasks. After each round, the tool was refined and re-evaluated. The final version of the OPUF Tool was then piloted in a sample of 50 participants from the UK.


On average, it took participants about seven minutes to complete the OPUF Tool. Based on the responses, we were able to construct a personal utility function for each of the 50 participants. The utility functions predicted a participant’s choices in a (validation) discrete choice experiment with an accuracy of 80%. Overall, the results revealed that health state preferences vary considerably on the individual-level. Nevertheless, we could estimate a group-level value set with reasonable precision. The two most important EQ- 5D dimensions were Mobility and Pain/Discomfort.


We successfully piloted the OPUF Tool and showed that it can be used to derive a social as well as personal utility functions for the EQ-5D-5L. Even though the development of the online tool is still in an early stage, there are multiple potential avenues for further research.

A demo version of the OPUF Tool is available at:

Speaker: Paul Schneider (University of Sheffield)

Discussant: Monica Duarte Oliveira (Universidade De Lisboa)

Chair: Dorte Gyrd-Hansen (University of Southern Denmark)