An Overview

What is HUG?
The Health Utilities Group (HUG) is a multi-disciplinary group of researchers and scientists based in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CE & B) at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. HUG develops and applies systems for measuring the health status and health-related quality of life of individuals, clinical groups and general populations. The HUG team meets on a regular basis to plan and manage research projects related to developing and applying tools for measuring health status and health-related quality of life utility scores.

HUG members include: David Feeny, William Furlong, George Torrance, Charles Goldsmith, Ronald Barr, Michael Boyle, John Horsman, and Sonja De Pauw. HUG has close ties to the Departments of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Psychiatry, and Surgery at McMaster University; the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Economics at the University of Alberta; the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, AB; as well as private-sector companies and government agencies involved with health research.

For contact information on HUG members, click Contacts

HUG members developed the Health Utilities Index (HUITM) ‘family’ of classification and preference-based scoring functions during the past 20 years. The HUITM has been included in more than 200 clinical studies, and every major Canadian general population health survey since 1990.

The HUI group co-operates internationally with informal groups in France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Austria, Japan, and Singapore.

Current research activities include:

  • HUITM methodology and scoring.
  • Development of methods for direct utility assessment using visual analogue scales, standard gamble and time trade-off techniques.
  • HUITM applications in pediatric oncology (including surveys in Argentina, Canada, Uruguay, the UK), haematology (bleeding disorders), neurofibromatosis, neonatology, surgery (including lung volume reduction, neurosurgery, splenectomy, cholecystectomy, population health (norms for general populations and selected sub-populations including groups having arthritis and stroke).
  • MI Rehabilitation RCT and economic evaluation.
  • Neonatology outcome studies.
  • Prenatal diagnosis and health-related quality of life.
  • Population health (including determinants of health).
  • Economic evaluations of health care programmes.

A few fundamental references related the development of HUITM, direct preference measurement techniques, and integration of quality of life assessments in economic evaluations are:

  • Drummond MF, O'Brien B, Stoddart GL, Torrance GW.  Methods for Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes: Second Edition.  Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997.
  • Feeny D, Torrance GW.  Incorporating utility-based quality-of-life assessment measures in clinical trials: two examples.  Medical Care 1989;27(3):S190-S204.
  • Feeny DH, Torrance GW, Labelle R.  Integrating Economic Evaluations and Quality of Life Assessments.  In: B. Spilker (ed) Quality of Life and Pharmacoeconomics in Clinical Trials - Second Edition. Philadelphia: Lippencot-Raven, 1996; 85-95.
  • Furlong W, Feeny D, Torrance GW, Barr RD, Horsman J.  Guide to design and development of health-state utility instrumentation.  Hamilton, Canada: McMaster University Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper 90-9, 1990.
  • Torrance GW, Thomas WH, Sacket DL.  A utility maximization model for evaluation of health care programs.  Health Services Research 1972;7:118-133.
  • Torrance GW. Measurement of health state utilities for economic evaluation - a review. Journal of Health Economics 1986;5(1):1-30.
  • Torrance GW, Feeny D.  Utilities and quality-adjusted life years.  International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 1989;5(4):559-575.

HUG/HUIHealth Related Quality of Life Research
HUG / HUI "HUG" updated - December 17, 1999
HUG Webpages designed and maintained by John R. Horsman, CE&B