Mary Mitchell (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

Accountability, transparency and quantifying of quality of life in healthcare decision-making

My project seeks to explore the difficulties of defining and measuring complex normative concepts on a numerical scale for use in health policy decision-making, with a specific focus on health-related quality of life. It will examine the process of moral reasoning involved in moving from an abstract, disputed ethical concept to an ‘objective’, quantified measure of wellbeing. Numerical quality of life measures are currently widely used to make clinical decisions about treatment options and cost-effectiveness decisions about resource allocation in the NHS, and to hold decision-makers accountable for their conclusion, but there is surprisingly little in-depth analysis of their success in capturing the meaning and value of health-related quality of life adequately. A greater understanding of this is essential to justifying the use of such measures, and identifying the limits of their utility has the potential to improve the way they are used in healthcare decision-making.

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