Do You Want to Hear the Bad News? The Value of Diagnostic Tests for Alzheimer's Disease.

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OBJECTIVE: The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains difficult. Lack of diagnostic certainty or possible distress related to a positive result from diagnostic testing could limit the application of new testing technologies. The objective of this paper is to quantify respondents' preferences for obtaining AD diagnostic tests and to estimate the perceived value of AD test information. METHODS: Discrete-choice experiment and contingent-valuation questions were administered to respondents in Germany and the United Kingdom. Choice data were analyzed by using random-parameters logit. A probit model characterized respondents who were not willing to take a test. RESULTS: Most respondents indicated a positive value for AD diagnostic test information. Respondents who indicated an interest in testing preferred brain imaging without the use of radioactive markers. German respondents had relatively lower money-equivalent values for test features compared with respondents in the United Kingdom. CONCLUSIONS: Respondents preferred less invasive diagnostic procedures and tests with higher accuracy and expressed a willingness to pay up to €700 to receive a less invasive test with the highest accuracy.





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Mühlbacher, Axel, F Reed Johnson, Jui-Chen Yang, Michael Happich and Mark Belger (2016). Do You Want to Hear the Bad News? The Value of Diagnostic Tests for Alzheimer's Disease. Value Health, 19(1). pp. 66–74. 10.1016/j.jval.2015.10.011 Retrieved from

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F. Reed Johnson

Professor in Population Health Sciences

F. Reed Johnson, PhD, has more than 40 years of academic and research experience in health and environmental economics. He has served on the faculties of several universities in the United States, Canada, and Sweden, and as Distinguished Fellow at Research Triangle Institute. He currently is Senior Research Scholar in the Duke Clinical Research Institute. As a staff member in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental economics research program during the 1980s, Reed helped pioneer the development of basic non­-market valuation techniques which are widely used for benefit-cost analysis in health and environmental economics. He has designed and analyzed numerous surveys for measuring preferences for and value of health outcomes, health ­risk reductions, and improved environmental quality.

Dr. Johnson has over 140 publications in books and peer-reviewed journals. His research has been published in various medical journals, the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Health Economics, Medical Decision Making, Health Economics, Value in Health, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and other journals. He has coauthored a book on techniques for using existing environmental and health value estimates for policy analysis.

His current research involves quantifying patients’ willingness to accept side­effect risks in return for therapeutic benefits and estimating general time equivalences among health states. He led the first FDA­ sponsored study on patients’ willingness to accept benefit-risk tradeoffs for new health technologies. The study was used to develop recent FDA guidance on submitting patient-preference data to support regulatory reviews of medical devices.

Areas of expertise: Clinical Decision Sciences, Health Measurement, Health Policy, and Health Economics

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