NUI Galway launches Health and Wellbeing Survey

Professor Ciaran O'Neill, NUI Galway
May 05 2015 Posted: 13:58 IST

A survey of 1,000 people is being carried out door-to-door across the country by NUI Galway researchers to find out the views of Irish people with regard to health and wellbeing. Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), the study is led by Professor Ciaran O’Neill, a HRB Research Leader, at NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics. “We are really hoping to tap into some valuable information – the preferences of the public with regard to health and wellbeing. The public are the consumers of healthcare and health services in Ireland, and we want to hear first-hand their points of view to help improve decision-making at a national level.”

The Health and Wellbeing Survey will take participants through a computer-based questionnaire, which will ask them to imagine different health scenarios that might face individuals such as themselves. This survey explores five dimensions of health: mobility, self-care, pain, anxiety and the ability to undertake usual activities (work, study, housework, pastimes, etc.) and aims to establish which dimensions of health the Irish people value most.

When a decision is being made whether to fund a new drug or other treatments in the Irish health system, decision makers look at the costs and benefits of the new drug or treatment. Benefits are typically assessed in terms of gains in both length of life and quality of life, based on data from clinical trials. The results from this Health and Wellbeing survey will be available to help measure gains in quality of life, enabling decision makers to draw on the preferences of the Irish public when making important healthcare decisions.

“From this study, we hope that a clearer understanding of the preferences of Irish people for different dimensions of health will emerge. We also want to establish a better picture of what factors underlie differences in peoples’ preferences. This will be useful when considering whether to adopt a new technology, where policy makers weigh up the costs and benefits of new technologies relative to those, for example, in current use”, explained Professor O’Neill.

NUI Galway researchers have already visited eight locations, four in Dublin and four outside Dublin. The response from the public has been excellent, householders have engaged with great interest in the survey and the feedback from participants is very positive. The research team will continue to visit randomly-selected homes, representing a cross-section of society, all over Ireland over six months. The research team will carry NUI Galway identification and will call to homes between 10am and 8pm.


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