BACKGROUND: The increasing emphasis on patient-reported outcomes in health care decision making has prompted greater rigor in the evidence to support the instruments used. Acceptability and content validity are important properties of any measure to ensure it assesses the relevant aspects of the target concept. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the acceptability and content validity of the EQ-5D 5-Level (EQ-5D-5L) to assess the impact of asthma on patients' lives.
METHODS: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 40 adults with asthma in the United Kingdom. The first 25 interviews used cognitive-debriefing methods to assess the relevance and acceptability of the EQ-5D-5L and two asthma-specific measures for comparison: an asthma-specific, preference-based measure (the Asthma Quality of Life Utility Index-5 Dimensions) and an Asthma Symptom Diary. The final 15 interviews combined concept elicitation to identify patient-perceived asthma impact, and cognitive debriefing to assess relevance and acceptability of the EQ-5D-5L and the Asthma Symptom Diary. Cognitive-debriefing feedback on the content of the measures was collated and summarized descriptively. The concept-elicitation data were analyzed thematically.
RESULTS: Participants were aged 20 to 57 years and 62.5% were female. Although some participants expressed positive opinions on aspects of the EQ-5D-5L, only the usual activities dimension was consistently considered relevant to participants' asthma experiences. The mobility and self-care dimensions prompted strong negative reactions from some participants. Variations in interpretation of the mobility dimension and difficulties with multiple concepts in the pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression dimensions also were noted. Concepts reported by participants as missing included environmental triggers, asthma symptoms, emotions, and sleep. The EQ-5D-5L was the least preferred measure to describe the impact of asthma on participants' lives. Participants reported shortness of breath and impact on activities as especially salient issues.
CONCLUSIONS: The content of the EQ-5D-5L was poorly aligned with the patient-perceived impact of asthma, and the measure failed to meet basic standards for acceptability and content validity as a measure to assess the impact of asthma from the patient perspective. The shortcomings identified raise concerns regarding the appropriateness of the EQ-5D in asthma and further evaluation is warranted.