Alternative approaches for assessing the socioeconomic benefits of medical devices: a systematic review

G. Wilkinson, M.F. Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many medical devices offer improvements over current care that may be difficult to assess using standard methods of economic benefit measurement such as the quality-adjusted lifeyear (QALY). The objective of this research was to explore the extent to which these benefits have been measured and valued by alternative approaches, such as willingness-to-pay studies or discrete choice experiments. We undertook a systematic review of the literature from 1996 to 2013 to identify empirical studies on the benefits of medical devices using the alternative methodologies. The search resulted in 2772 hits, of which 2016 were considered not relevant to the study and 76 were duplicates. After further examination, there were 30 relevant empirical studies, of which 18 were willingness-to-pay and 12 discrete choice experiments. This research demonstrates that while it is feasible to measure and value the attributes of devices using alternative approaches to standard quality-of-life measures, the literature is quite limited when compared with that for non-device technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-648
Number of pages20
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • economic evaluation
  • quality-adjusted life-year
  • discrete choice experiments
  • willingness-to-pay
  • stated preferences

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