Children’s health state preferences learnt from animation (CHILDSPLA)

While there are several measures to estimate QALYs in adults, there are currently no measures where the preferences of children themselves provide the weighting of the different dimensions. The primary contribution of this research is to develop an instrument to collect information on health status from children. The underlying hypothesis is that health status information can be directly collected from even quite young children by use of animated characters, in part because it will require lower language and literacy competencies than traditional methods. Having developed the instrument we want to demonstrate its properties compared to more traditional means of data collection, and also undertake development work on eliciting preferences from children regarding different health states.

We expect that the use of animated characters instead of written questions will yield a number of benefits. First, a greater proportion of sick children will be able to indicate their current health status than can be achieved through self-completion of written questions. Second, a greater proportion of children in any particular age group will be able to report their current health state.  Third, the presentation of the questions can be tailored to the child’s characteristics, for example, by allowing the child to select the character and the activities presented. Fourth, there may be advantages in terms of data collection and management. Another potential advantage deriving from an animated instrument is that it may be possible to elicit preferences over health states from many more children than would be feasible with current methods.

This research is funded by the Medical Research Council and is a unique collaboration between LSHTM, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Royal College of Art. For further information, please visit the CHILDSPLA website.

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