Health outcomes measurement forms a key aspect of data collection for economic evaluations. Quality-of-life instruments provide a measure of patient-focused health outcomes. Such instruments, including the EuroQoL questionnaire (EQ-5D) and the Short-form 36 (SF-36) are already being used in Japan. Utility instruments provide an alternative way of measuring quality of life for use in economic analyses. At present, utility measurement in Japan is limited to scores derived from the EQ-5D. Although the SF-36 was designed as a health profile measure, it has since been tested for use as a utility measure, with valuation of items now being undertaken in Japan. Utility measurement in Japan is likely to be advanced further by the validation and introduction of the Health Utilities Index. The experiences of other countries provide the opportunity for Japan to learn how utility scores may be used in cost-utility analyses of healthcare technologies.
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