PURPOSE: Given increasing interest in using the capability approach for health economic evaluations and a growing literature, this paper aims to synthesise current information about the characteristics of capability instruments and their application in health economic evaluations.
METHODS: A systematic literature review was conducted to assess studies that contained information on the development, psychometric properties and valuation of capability instruments, or their application in economic evaluations.
RESULTS: The review identified 98 studies and 14 instruments for inclusion. There is some evidence on the psychometric properties of most instruments. Most papers found moderate-to-high correlation between health and capability measures, ranging between 0.41 and 0.64. ASCOT, ICECAP-A, -O and -SCM instruments have published valuation sets, most frequently developed using best-worst scaling. Thirteen instruments were originally developed in English and one in Portuguese; however, some translations to other languages are available. Ten economic evaluations using capability instruments were identified. The presentation of results show a lack of consensus regarding the most appropriate way to use capability instruments in economic evaluations with discussion about capability-adjusted life years (CALYs), years of capability equivalence and the trade-off between maximisation of capability versus sufficient capability.
CONCLUSION: There has been increasing interest in applying the capability-based approach in health economic evaluations, but methodological and conceptual issues remain. There is still a need for direct comparison of the different capability instruments and for clear guidance on when and how they should be used in economic evaluations.
- capability approach
- patient reported outcome measures
- preference weighting
- economic evaluation