Risk reduction from low osmolality contrast media: What do patients think it is worth?

Lawrence J. Appel, Earl P. Steinberg, Neil R. Powe, Gerard F. Anderson, Sharon A. Dwyer, Ruth R. Faden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Decisions regarding the use of and reimbursement for new medical technologies frequently involve complex cost-quality trade-offs. Among physicians, hospital administrators, and insurers, interindividual variation in the value of benefits attributable to these technologies often leads to conflicting opinions about their appropriate use. Although society now encourages patient involvement in such decisions, few methods for obtaining patient valuations have been developed and systematically applied. In order to assess patient valuations of a particular new technology, low osmolality contrast media (LOM), a survey of 100 outpatients was conducted. Participants were asked about their willingness to pay (WTP) for the benefits of this expensive medical technology. Of the 95 subjects who completed the study questionnaire, a majority were unwilling to pay the minimum extra per procedure cost of LOM ($50) in return for a reduced risk of minor side effects alone (pain, nausea, hives, and flushing). For a reduced risk of both major side effects (death, renal insufficiency, severe allergic reaction, and cardiac arrhythmia) and minor side effects, the median WTP was $50; patient income and education were directly associated with WTP $50 or more. We conclude that similar WTP surveys may be helpful in addressing other difficult cost-quality issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-337
Number of pages14
JournalMedical care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990


  • Contrast media
  • Health economics
  • Health policy
  • Patient preference
  • Technology assessment
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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