The advent of online task distribution has opened a new avenue for efficiently gathering community perspectives needed for utility estimation. Methodological consensus for estimating pediatric utilities is lacking, with disagreement over whom to sample, what perspective to use (patient vs parent) and whether instrument induced anchoring bias is significant. We evaluated what methodological factors potentially impact utility estimates for vesicoureteral reflux.Materials and Methods:
Cross-sectional surveys using a time trade-off instrument were conducted via the Amazon Mechanical Turk® (https://www.mturk.com) online interface. Respondents were randomized to answer questions from child, parent or dyad perspectives on the utility of a vesicoureteral reflux health state and 1 of 3 “warm-up” scenarios (paralysis, common cold, none) before a vesicoureteral reflux scenario. Utility estimates and potential predictors were fitted to a generalized linear model to determine what factors most impacted utilities.Results:
A total of 1,627 responses were obtained. Mean respondent age was 34.9 years. Of the respondents 48% were female, 38% were married and 44% had children. Utility values were uninfluenced by child/personal vesicoureteral reflux/urinary tract infection history, income or race. Utilities were affected by perspective and were higher in the child group (34% lower in parent vs child, p <0.001, and 13% lower in dyad vs child, p <0.001). Vesicoureteral reflux utility was not significantly affected by the presence or type of time trade-off warm-up scenario (p = 0.17).Conclusions:
Time trade-off perspective affects utilities when estimated via an online interface. However, utilities are unaffected by the presence, type or absence of warm-up scenarios. These findings could have significant methodological implications for future utility elicitations regarding other pediatric conditions.