Patient preferences for diabetes-related complications in Taiwan
Background: As the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) continues to increase rapidly, there has been a rising need not only to assess the clinical outcomes but also the impact of DM on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of affected individuals. Most previous studies have found that having complications is strongly associated with decreased HRQoL in DM patients. As such, it is crucial to measure individuals’ preferences for DM-related complications in order to assess the magnitude of complications’ effect on overall HRQoL. In addition, preference scores are an essential component of cost–utility analyses (CUAs), which studies can incorporate healthcare costs, HRQoL and clinical outcomes of DM into one analysis.
Objective: The aims of this study were to assess the preference scores of DM-related complications using both the standard gamble (SG), a choice-based method, and visual analogue scale (VAS), a scaling method. We also aimed to assess several possible factors that might be associated with the preference scores of the complications.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional interview-administered survey, and 213 patients with type 2 DM were interviewed. The respondents’ preference scores of eleven DM-related complications were obtained using VAS and SG techniques. Demographic information, clinical characteristics and risk attitudes were also collected to explore factors that may affect patients’ preference scores.
Results: Nearly one quarter of participants in Taiwan ranked at least one of the complications worse than death. The mean VAS scores ranged from 0.004 (amputation) to 0.47 (nocturnal hypoglycemia) while the mean adjusted SG scores ranged from 0.30 (blindness) to 0.66 (nocturnal hypoglycemia). There were significant differences in all of the complications’ preference scores depending on risk attitudes.
Conclusion: Both the VAS and SG methods were used to elicit the preference scores of DM-related complications, and the preference scores derived could be useful for future cost utility analyses.