The SF-12 is a multidimensional generic measure of health-related quality of life. It has become widely used in clinical trials and routine outcome assessment because of its brevity and psychometric performance, but it cannot be used in economic evaluation in its current form.
We sought to derive a preference-based measure of health from the SF-12 for use in economic evaluation and to compare it with the original SF-36 preference-based index.
The SF-12 was revised into a 6-dimensional health state classification (SF-6D [SF-12]) based on an item selection process designed to ensure the minimum loss of descriptive information.
A sample of 241 states defined by the SF-6D (of 7500) have been valued by a representative sample of 611 members of the UK general population using the standard gamble (SG) technique.
Models are estimated of the relationship between the SF-6D (SF-12) and SG values and evaluated in terms of their coefficients, overall fit, and the ability to predict SG values for all health states.
The models have produced significant coefficients for levels of the SF-6D (SF-12), which are robust across model specification. The coefficients are similar to those of the SF-36 version and achieve similar levels of fit. There are concerns with some inconsistent estimates and these have been merged to produce the final recommended model. As for the SF-36 model, there is evidence of over prediction of the value of the poorest health states.
The SF-12 index provides a useful tool for researchers and policy makers wishing to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions.