In some countries including Germany, value sets based on general population preferences are not acceptable for decision-makers in healthcare because the impact of the reference group—general population versus patients—on utility decrements is questioned. The objective of this study was to explore potential differences in patient versus general population health preferences and a way of combining both preferences in economic evaluation.
EQ-5D-5L general population preferences were available from national value sets in Germany and Spain. Patient preferences were obtained by conducting discrete choice experiments with patients with rheumatism and patients with diabetes mellitus in Germany and Spain using an online panel. The econometric approach was based on the conditional logit framework. Latent values were anchored using the national value sets.
A total of 1700 patients (Germany, n = 937; Spain, n = 763) were included in the analysis. In both countries, patients gave more importance to mobility, self-care, or usual activities and less importance to pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression than the general population. The size of these differences was larger in Germany than in Spain. In Germany, preferences reported by both patient groups were more similar than in Spain.
Patient preferences differ from preferences derived from the general population. In contrast to the general population, patients gave more importance to the functional dimensions than to symptoms in both countries. The extent of the differences depends on the disease and the country. For countries preferring patient preferences, a possible way of incorporating the patient perspective in health state valuation was suggested and needs to be further explored.