Acceptable health and sufficientarianism are emerging concepts in health resource allocation. We defined acceptability as the proportion of the general population who consider a health state acceptable for a given age. Previous studies surveyed the acceptability of health problems separately per EQ-5D-3L domain, while the acceptability of health states with co-occurring problems was barely explored.
To quantify the acceptability of 243 EQ-5D-3L health states for six ages from 30 to 80 years: 1458 health state–age combinations (HAcs), denoted as the acceptability set of EQ-5D-3L.
In 2019, an online representative survey was conducted in the Hungarian general population. We developed a novel adaptive survey algorithm and a matching statistical measurement model. The acceptability of problems was evaluated separately per EQ-5D-3L domain, followed by joint evaluation of up to 15 HAcs. The selection of HAcs depended on respondents’ previous responses. We used an empirical Bayes measurement model to estimate the full acceptability set.
1375 respondents (female: 50.7%) were included with mean (SD) age of 46.7 (14.6) years. We demonstrated that single problems that were acceptable separately for a given age were less acceptable when co-occurring jointly (p < 0.001). For 30 years of age, EQ-5D-3L health states of ‘11112’ (11.9%) and ‘33333’ (1%), while for 80 years of age ‘21111’ (93.3%) and ‘33333’ (7.4%) had highest and lowest acceptability (% of population), respectively.
The acceptability set of EQ-5D-3L quantifies societal preferences concerning age and disease severity. Its measurement profiles and potential role in health resource allocation needs further exploration.