NUI Galway launches the Health and Wellbeing Survey

Mar 13 2015 Posted: 10:10 GMT

NUI Galway launches the Health and Wellbeing Survey

Led by Professor Ciaran O’Neill, a group of researchers based at NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics have been funded by the Health Research Board to undertake research aimed at improving our understanding of a number of health-related issues, including healthcare costs and service quality.

Health and Wellbeing Survey

One of our studies, the Health and Wellbeing Survey, seeks to establish the preferences of Irish people for different health states relative to each other: what matters most to Irish people? Every day, decisions are being made on how to best use our limited healthcare resources. This study is being carried out to provide better information on which these decisions can be based. Members of the general public in Ireland are being asked to help with this study. Our researchers are currently visiting randomly selected households across the country, inviting members of the public to contribute their opinions to this important work by taking part in our Health and Wellbeing Survey – we want to find out the different views of Irish people regarding health and illness.

What is the aim of the survey?

This survey aims to establish how Irish people compare health states that impact on different domains or areas of health.  We are interested in five domains of health: mobility, self-care, pain, anxiety and the ability to undertake usual activities (work, study, housework, pastimes, etc.). A health state describes how an individual experiences life, in and across these different domains. So, for example, a health state might be described with phrases like No problems walking about and Slight problems with performing my usual activities – and so on.

Will this research lead to any change in our healthcare system?

From this study, we hope that a clearer understanding of the preferences of Irish people for different health states relative to each other will emerge and also that we establish a better picture of what factors underlie differences in these valuations between people.

From the information we collect in the survey, we aim to generate preference weights that will be available to those undertaking evaluations of new technologies, so that decisions made will reflect Irish-specific preferences for different health states. When considering whether to adopt a new technology, including new drugs, policy makers weigh up the costs and benefits of new technologies relative to those, for example, in current use. Benefits in evaluations of this type are generally expressed in terms of the impact the new technology has on health. As different technologies may have very specific effects we need common points of comparison – such as the impact of the new technology on mobility, self-care, pain etc. – to evaluate different technologies relative to each other. This survey we are undertaking will allow us to make such comparisons, based on the views we have collected from Irish people.

It will also allow us to explore how these preferences compare with results from similar exercises undertaken in other countries, for example in the UK, China, Indonesia, Poland, Denmark and Italy. This will allow us to establish if preferences for different health states are different in different countries, and if so why this might be the case: might it be to do with cultural differences in how for example dependence is viewed, or perhaps might it depend on what supports are available in different countries to people impacted by ill-health in different ways?

Taking part in the Health and Wellbeing Survey

If your house is one of those randomly chosen, we will be delighted if you take time to complete the Health and Wellbeing Survey.

Our research team

Three of our research team are currently conducting the survey:

2015-03-Research Team

For more information, please email: or call 091 492866