Sunday, October 24, 2010: 9:00 AM
Conference Room F (Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel)
Course Type: Full Day
Course Level: Intermediate

Format Requirements: This is a full day workshop involving lectures and hands-on applications. It will start with an overview of the theory underpinning the DCE approach, which will be followed by a review of the methods necessary to successfully navigate a DCE project. Particular attention will be given to the basic aspects of experimental design and data analysis. The workshop will conclude with a practical application of estimating welfare measures such as willingness to pay, and how they can be used in technology assessment. Participants are encouraged to bring personal computers, but are not required to do so. No particular software will be endorsed, although the DCE applications will be examined using Stata or SAS. This workshop is intended for researchers who have a working knowledge of statistics and health outcomes research, and who are interested in developing patient-focused preference-based values of health outcomes that can be used to inform health policy.

Background: The application of stated preference discrete choice experiments (DCEs) –an approach that fits within the broader paradigm of conjoint analysis – to value outcomes associated with health and health care provision has steadily increased over the past decade. DCEs are based on the assumption that health goods can be described by their attributes, and individuals derive value from the levels of the attributes. DCEs are popular because they provide a flexible approach to preference-based measurement that enables researchers to value the salient outcomes associated with health and the provision of health care, including patient reported outcomes. DCEs also allow for welfare measures such as willingness to pay, which can be incorporated into cost benefit analysis. Understanding how patients perceive and value different aspects of healthcare and incorporating these values into formal technology assessment and decision-making can ultimately result in clinical and policy decisions that better reflect individuals' preferences.

Description and Objectives: This workshop will provide participants with the basic theoretical and practical background necessary to understand, evaluate, and interpret a stated preference choice experiment. The practical, applied aspect of the course will use DCE examples to trace the key phases that are essential to conducting a successful conjoint analysis. Specifically, the course will take participants through the elements of i) defining the research question; ii) specifying the attributes and levels; iii) constructing the choice tasks; iv) experimental design to construct hypothetical stimuli; v) preference elicitation format; vi) instrument design; vii) data collection plan; viii) statistical analyses; ix) results and conclusions; and x) study presentation. By the end of this course participants will: 

  • Become familiar with the history of conjoint analysis and gain an understanding of the theory underpinning the DCE approach;  
  • Gain a practical grounding in the necessary steps for conducting DCEs, including DCE experimental design and estimation;
  • Gain practical experience in calculating welfare estimates that can be used in formal technology assessment, including the calculation of willingness to pay measures used in cost benefit analysis.
Course Director:
Dean A. Regier, PhD
Course Faculty:
John F.P. Bridges, PhD and Deborah Marshall, PhD