EXCELC team’s presentation on the Health Economics Day 2017 in Finland

By Dr Lien Nguyen, and Ismo Linnosma, Centre for Health and Social Economics, National Insitute for Health and Welfare (THL)

On the Health Economics Day last month in Finland, there were eight selected health economics presentations in the afternoon, one of which was from the Finnish members of the EXCELC team. Ismo Linnosmaa presented some findings from the study of self-assessed quality of life (QoL) among Austrian, English and Finnish people. Data used in the study were collected online last summer and sent to the team by Research Now. The results indicated that after having controlled for individual characteristics, there are no statistically significant differences in self-assessed QoL, though only between the English and Finnish people. Instead, the Austrian people were more likely to report better QoL than the Finns. In addition, the study lends support to the hypothesis of the positive association between QoL and income. People with higher income tend to assess QoL as very good or so good it could not be better. As the reasons behind the findings of differences in QoL between the three countries are not known, the Excelc team plans to investigate the theme further in the near future.

The Health Economics Day (Terveystaloustieteen päivä) is an annual seminar traditionally held in February in Finland that brings together health service experts, policy makers, researchers and people interested in health economics. The usual programme of the day is divided into two parts. In the morning, invited speakers give talks on topics that are both topical and relevant from the perspective of health economics. The afternoon programme is composed of presentations of researchers presenting and discussing the most recent findings from their own research in health economics as well as organized sessions on some important topics in health economics.  

EXCELC Team Meeting and Advisory Group in Vienna 2017

By Dr Laurie Batchelder, Research officer at PSSRU Kent

The EXCELC team met in Vienna last week (8 – 10 February) to catch up and share our ideas and progress to date with the EXCELC policy and scientific advisory group.

On Thursday, the EXCELC team discussed the great progress we’ve made since we last met in September. Juliette Malley, Laurie Batchelder and Eirini Saloniki updated us on progress with the preference study and presented some preliminary results, including basic preference models for Austria, England and Finland for both the ASCOT service user measure and the ASCOT carer measure, as well as mode and temporal comparisons with the ASCOT service user measure. Birgit Trukeschitz, Assma Hajji, Judith Kieninger and Judith Litschauer updated us on progress with the Austrian fieldwork. They also presented some preliminary descriptive results. Ismo Linnosmaa, Lien Nguyen and Hanna Jokimaki similarly updated us on progress with the Finnish fieldwork and presented some preliminary descriptive results. We all discussed the challenges conducting fieldwork and strategies we can use to improve recruitment of carers. Following the meeting, the team got the chance to marvel at the beautiful sites of Vienna and try some traditional Viennese food.

On Friday, the EXCELC team shared their work with the EXCELC advisory group. Birgit Trukeschitz and Juliette Malley kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the EXCELC project and its various workpackages. Ismo Linnosmaa and Birgit Trukeschitz then presented reflections on the process of translating ASCOT into Finnish and German. Laurie Batchelder and Eirini Saloniki also presented preliminary findings from the preference study from the ASCOT service user measure and the ASCOT carer measure. Birgit Trukeschitz and Assma Hajji then presented their progress with the Austrian fieldwork, and Hanna Jokimaki presented progress with the Finnish fieldwork. We discussed the similar challenges both Austria and Finland have faced during the fieldwork stage. We had good discussions following each presentation with lots of ideas about how to present and build on the work we are doing. The meeting closed with tea and coffee, more engaging discussions, and Krapfen!

“It’s hard to imagine situations that you’ve not experienced before properly:” Reflections on what aspects of quality of life people value using the Best-Worst Scaling (BWS) Task

by Dr Laurie Batchelderbatchelder-laurie

Recently our team published a research note on the work we undertook to understand people’s preferences for different quality of life states described by the ASCOT service user and carer measures. The method we used to draw out people’s preferences for quality of life states was a task called Best-Worst Scaling (BWS). During this task, we asked participants to trade-off and choose different care-related quality of life states.

We wanted to make sure that the presentation of the BWS task was clear before it was presented in the mainstage study, so we tested the BWS task in a small group of people in England, Austria and Finland. We asked them to reflect on everything they were thinking and feeling while completing the BWS task. We also interviewed these people after the task in order to better understand their decision-making processes.

This research note sets out our key findings and highlights some problems we encountered when we tested this method, along with how we overcame these problems. These changes have now been piloted, and we have just completed the main fieldwork, collecting people’s preferences for ASCOT quality of life states.

We are currently using the data we have collected about how people understand the BWS experiment to look in more detail at how people make decisions about their preferences. This will help us to better understand the data we collected from the BWS task and to plan future experiments. It will also provide us a better understanding of the BWS task overall. We presented this work at the ILPN conference at LSE in September 2016 (see link to our presentation at ILPN here and also Storify of the ILPN conference here) and further discussed these findings at the NORFACE Workshop: Health Politics, Health Policy, Long-Term Care and Inequalities in October 2016 in Mannheim, Germany.

Next year we will provide a further update – some results from the analysis of the BWS data from England, Austria and Finland.

Read more about this study here!