Patient preferences throughout the medical product life cycle: Chiara Whichello’s PhD defence


Finding out what patients prefer is critical for the successful development, regulation and reimbursement or medical products. And for creating a patient centric decision-making within the medical product lifecycle. Before patient preference studies can be incorporated successfully into decision-making, stakeholders need more methodological clarity. Chiara Whichello’s PhD project has centered on this issue. On December 9, she defends her thesis. 

As part of PREFER, and as part of her PhD project, Chiara Whichello has appraised several methods of performing patient preference studies and conducted a head-to-head empirical study, using two different methods to elicit diabetes patients’ preferences for glucose monitoring devices. According to her, there is no ‘gold-standard’ method for eliciting and exploring patient preferences. But there are some methods that are more promising than others, and that are more likely to meet decision-makers’ needs. Discrete choice experiments, or DCE’s, are among them.

Decision-makers are eager to discover which methods are most acceptable for market authorisation submissions, or HTA/payer reimbursement decisions. Chiara Whichello has examined the challenges and opportunities for including patient preference studies in decision-making, and appraised the suitability of different preference exploration and elicitation methods to meet decision-makers’ needs across the medical product lifecycle.

“Developing methodologically-sound patient preference studies is an important field of research that will benefit the lives of patients. This is one of the reasons why I’m happy to be part of the PREFER project. Going forward, we need to continue comparing methods to each other in order to determine which methods generate more informative results, and what kinds of preference studies work best for patients,” says Chiara Whichello, PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam and research associate at Evidera.


  • Develop further methodological guidance for patient preference studies
  • Increase stakeholder collaboration for patient preference studies
  • Determine how to weight patient preference information in regulatory or HTA/payer assessment procedures
  • Minimise the cognitive burden given to patients when conducting patient preference studies
  • Acknowledge or capture heterogeneity as best as possible in order to increase a patient preference study’s usefulness in benefit-risk and health technology assessments.

Chiara Whichello’s PhD defenCe

Thesis title

Patient Preferences Throughout the Medical Product Lifecycle

Date of defense

9 December 2020


  • Prof. Dr. M.P.M.H Rutten-van Mölken
  • Dr. E.W. de Bekker-Grob


Prof. Dr. P.L. Meurs.

Jury members

  • Prof. Dr. DMJ Delnoij
  • Dr. T. Tervonen
  • Dr. I. Cleemput
  • Dr. C. Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. A.C.D. Donkers
  • Prof. Dr. M. G. Hansson
  • Dr. G.A. de Wit

Last modified: 2021-11-10