College of Medicine professor studies what patients really want from health care and providers

John Bridges

Patient preference studies document what elements of treatment matter to patients, how much they matter and how patients make trade-offs between treatment options. Patients are the most important stakeholders who are affected by decisions made by medical personnel, policy makers and insurance providers. Using cutting-edge science to analyze patient preference can ensure that studies are most impactful.

The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is an organization dedicated to improving health care decisions. It just released the report “A Roadmap for Increasing the Usefulness and Impact of Patient-Preference Studies in Decision Making in Health: A Good Practices Report of an ISPOR Task Force.”

John FP Bridges, PhD, professor of Biomedical Informatics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and lead author of the report, is a nationally and internationally respected leader in the field of patient-centered outcomes research. Dr. Bridges says that studies of patient preference are important because they promote patient centricity by engaging directly with real patients to inform a range of decision across the health care system

“At the population level, patient preference research informs health care value assessments, resource allocation, public health programs and shared decision making,” Dr. Bridges says. “Our goal was to make these studies more helpful for decision makers such as health technology assessors, government regulators and payers.” 

The report illustrates five key areascontext, purpose, population, method and impactwhere patient-preference researchers can work with decision makers, patients and patient groups to increase the impact of the studies. The roadmap encourages researchers to consider the context in which decisions are made and the purpose of the study, identify wholl be affected explicitly and justify the selection of the method that is the best fit. The report also includes a set of key questions that can guide researchers who are conducting studies of patient preference and support the critical appraisal of studies across each of the five elements.

“The goal of the roadmap is to enhance the likelihood of impacting decision making and being able to identify the intended and unintended impacts that the studies have made,” Dr. Bridges says. “ISPOR has long been a leader in the creation of consensus-based methodological good practice guidance to study patient preference.”

Dr. Bridges adds that previous ISPOR reports have influenced decision-making at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies, and contributed to ISPOR’s reputation as the leader in defining best practices in the field.

Dr. Bridges has worked with patient organizations, health care providers, industry and decision makers like the FDA to advance and apply scientific methods to study patient preferences in a wide variety of conditions. His research program is supported, in part, by an Innovation in Regulatory Science Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.