Continuous-risk utility assessment in medical decision making

Gordon B Hazen, Wallace J. Hopp, James M. Pellissier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The authors argue that for risky medical treatment decisions, conventional utility assessment techniques are inadequate due to their emphasis on unrealistic risk magnitudes and sure consequences, leading to assessment questions that are unfamiliar to most patients, have little educational value, and do not reliably extend to the application at hand. As an alternative, medical utility assessments should be performed in a continuous-risk domain with risk levels matching those of the actual decision problem. In support of this position, the authors describe an empirical study that compares the responses of subjects under a conventional assessment protocol with those of subjects under a continuous-risk utility assessment protocol. Prelim inary results show that conventional assessment protocols result in significantly lower esti mates of the degrees of risk aversion compared with a more realistic continuous-risk protocol. Key words: continuous-risk utility assessment; decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-304
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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