Critical need for better methodological understanding of preference methods


Before issuing recommendations on when and how to use patient preference studies for decision-making along the medical product life cycle, learning more about the opportunities and challenges faced by stakeholders is key. An article recently published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making has done just this, and offers comprehensive lists of roles, reasons, concerns and requirements for patient preference studies. 

Rosanne Janssens
Rosanne Janssens, PREFER

Questions about the validity, reliability and complexity of patient preference methods is currently hampering patient preference studies’ unique insights and the potential positive effect from having an impact on the quality of decision-making. So does the lack of guidance for how to address these challenges. Stakeholders need support to design and conduct patient preference studies that are useful in decision-making.

Despite the growing interest, stakeholders rarely conduct patient preference studies with the aim of informing their own decision-making processes.

 “We wanted to understand what is stopping stakeholders from conducting and using patient preference studies. And where patient preference studies would be more useful. That is why we identified the decisions and steps along the medical product life cycle that hold potential to be informed by patient preference studies,” says Rosanne Janssens, one of the authors.

To support the development of guidance, we need more best practice studies and we need more patient preference studies that examine the methodological questions identified in this paper.

By Anna Holm

Janssens, R., Huys, I., van Overbeeke, E., Whichello, C., et al. Opportunities and challenges for the inclusion of patient preferences in the medical product life cycle: a systematic review, BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 2019.

Read the article

Explore PREFER publications