Therapeutic interventions in health care require the use of resources. Since these resources are limited, it is important for clinical decision-makers to have economic information in addition to safety and efficacy data. In the economic environment of health care today, the incremental costs for a new therapeutic intervention must be offset by the value associated with better outcomes such as improved health and health-related quality of life and/or lower health care utilization costs over time.
Questions about the cost and effectiveness of medical care have generated considerable attention in medical outcomes research. In 1993, the Department of Health and Human Services appointed a multi-disciplinary group to recommend standards for the evaluation of health care. The panel's report suggested that standardized outcomes analyses be conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of medical care. These analyses require preference-weighted measures of health-related quality of life. Such measures are needed in order to adjust survival time for health-related quality of life.