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Letters
February 11, 1998

Defining and Measuring Quality of Life in Medicine

Author Affiliations
 

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(6):429-431. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-6-jac81007

To the Editor.—Drs Leplége and Hunt1 raise important concerns about quality-of-life measurement in medicine. However, we take issue with 3 critical points. First, quality-of-life methodology does not always "ignore the relative meaning and importance given to such tasks and roles by the individual." Some questionnaires are beginning to be used, such as the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life2 or the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy,3 that include for each domain a patient-assigned score related to overall quality of life (multiattribute method of preference assessment). In such instances, patients can weigh the importance of any domain referred to their own life, and individual judgments can be modeled mathematically. This approach, although time intensive, aims to improve quality-of-life methodology and attempts to alleviate problems related to the generalizability of standard instruments.

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