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Zachary Ward, PhD, MPH

Research Grant in Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research, 2022 Harvard University

Utilities for All: An Open-Access Database for Economic Evaluation and Preferences Research


Economic evaluation is increasingly used to assess whether a treatment provides good value for the cost. However, the concept of value can be difficult to measure. A common approach is to elicit quality-of-life preferences for a given patient population. Known as “utilities,” these numbers represent the preference weights for different health states and provide a way to quantify value. My research aims to develop an openaccess registry of utilities to improve the quality and impact of economic evaluations. This project advances an “open science” framework, facilitating and promoting best practices for data sharing, preservation, analysis, and replication. The registry will provide a unified repository of quantitative utility estimates, which can be used to assess quality-of-life outcomes as they relate to broader concepts of value. Also, by providing a comprehensive view of current utilities research, this project can identify areas of future, more equitable health services research, as well as more personalized decision-making for patients.

I am excited for the opportunity provided by this award to develop this project, which advances an ‘open science’ framework for economic evaluation and preferences research. This will be a useful resource for the research community and help to improve the quality and efficiency of our work.

Zachary Ward

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