Attribute Development Using Continuous Stakeholder Engagement to Prioritize Treatment Decisions: A Framework for Patient-Centered Research

Susan dosReis, Wendy Camelo Castillo, Melissa Ross, Marcy Fitz-Randolph, Angela Vaughn-Lee, Beverly Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives To develop a methodological approach for selecting, validating, and prioritizing attributes for health care decision making. Methods Participants (n = 48) were recruited from community support groups if they had a child aged 26 years or younger diagnosed with a coexisting mental health condition and cognitive impairment. Six in-depth interviews eliciting care management experiences were transcribed and coded into themes following the principles of grounded theory and the constant comparative method. Six focus groups involving 42 participants assessed the relevance, priority, and meaning and inter-relationship among the themes. The positive predictive value and sensitivity assessed agreement on thematic meaning. A final list was selected from the top priorities with good agreement as candidate attributes. Attribute levels reflecting the range of experiences in care management decisions emerged from the verbatim passages within each coded theme. Results Participants were the child's mother (73%), white (77%), married (69%), and on average 48 years old. The children were on average 14 years old; 44% had an intellectual disability, 25% had autism, and more than half had anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. All 14 attributes identified from the in-depth interviews were deemed relevant. The positive predictive value exceeded 90%, and the sensitivity ranged from 64% to 89%. The final set of attributes formed the framework for care management decisions consisting of six attributes (medication, behavior, services, social, treatment effects, and school) each with three levels. Conclusions A systematic approach grounded in qualitative methods produced a framework of relevant, important, and actionable attributes representing competing alternatives in clinical decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-766
Number of pages9
JournalValue in Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • attribute development
  • health care decision making
  • qualitative methods
  • stated preferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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