Health economists discuss societal views and value of end-of-life technologies

25 September 2014

Health economists discuss societal views and value of end-of-life technologies

Professor Rachel Baker led the MRC project

Health economists from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are to host an event to discuss the findings of a research project focused on investigating societal views and the relative value of life-extending, end-of-life technologies.

The event will be based around discussion of the study findings, and will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Centre for Executive Education (CEE) on October 3.  

This three-year project was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and used a research approach known as Q methodology to explore perspectives about the relative value to society of medical technologies which extend the lives of terminally ill patients. 

Q methodology is a method used to study shared, subjective viewpoints. Applied in a wide range of research studies in different contexts, Q methods are particularly useful when participants do not have readily articulated views, and when we are interested in shared perspectives.  

The research team have conducted ‘Q sort interviews’ with respondents, who were identified for their particular experience or expertise, including academics, clinicians, patient groups, hospice workers, religious and opinion leaders. They then surveyed members of the public around the UK. 

The project will help to inform health policy makers and decision makers. The research community will also benefit from advances the project team has made in survey methods related to Q methodology.

The aim of the event is to discuss the findings of the research and to receive feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, with different experiences and expertise. This will be in relation to their views on the findings; how they might be applied in practice; and ethical, economic and methodological issues resulting from the research.

The project was led by Professor Rachel Baker of GCU’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health with partners from Erasmus University Rotterdam and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

Professor Cam Donaldson, Yunus Chair in Social Business and Health, said: “This project is the very essence of health economics. Governments are more and more interested in the views of tax payers and this work is a real methodological advance in allowing opinions on these difficult issues to be articulated.”

Please contact rachel.baker@gcu.ac.uk for more information about the project.

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