ISPOR honors DCRI’s Reed Johnson with prestigious lifetime achievement award

May 21, 2018 – The award recognizes Johnson’s work in health economics and outcomes research.

The DCRI’s Reed Johnson, PhD, one of the most widely published experts in the field of health applications of stated-preference research, was recently recognized by the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). He has been selected as the recipient of the  Avedis Donabedian Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding, life-long contribution to the improvement of health outcomes.

Johnson was among the honorees for ISPOR’s 2018 Scientific and Leadership Awards, which are designed to foster and recognize excellence and outstanding technical achievement and leadership in health economics and outcomes research. He was presented the award today at ISPOR’s International Conference in Baltimore.

With over 140 publications in books and peer-reviewed journals, Johnson has four decades of academic and research experience in health and environmental economics and has helped pioneer the development of basic non­market valuation techniques which are widely used for benefit-cost analysis in health and environmental economics, through his work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental economics research program during the 1980s.

Currently working on quantifying patients’ willingness to accept risks and side effects in return for therapeutic benefits and estimating general time equivalences among health states, Johnson’s research has used a survey-research method called discrete-choice experiments to quantify patients’ willingness to accept tradeoffs among treatment benefits and harms.

“Until quite recently, this research has been far from the mainstream focus of comparative-effectiveness analysis and health-technology assessment, however, recent interest in patient-centric healthcare provided an audience for the idea that patient-preference data could help inform regulatory decision making,” said Johnson.

“Because clinical benefits and risks are measured in different units, regulators must implicitly assign subjective importance weights to clinical outcomes,” he said.  “Evidence on patients’ own importance weights for those outcomes is a way to explicitly incorporate the patient voice in such decisions. It is evident that this year’s Donabedian award was used to recognize the importance of this idea, rather than to recognize me personally.”

Johnson led the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)­sponsored study on patients’ willingness to accept benefit-risk tradeoffs for new health technologies. The study was used to develop recent FDA guidelines on submitting patient-preference data to support regulatory reviews of medical devices.

“The methods that Dr. Johnson has helped to develop over the last 25-30 years are now being appreciated and applied as we develop new approaches to patient centered research,” said the DCRI’s Shelby Reed, PhD, President of ISPOR and Director of the DCRI’s Preference Evaluation Research Group where she works alongside Johnson. “His winning this very prestigious award is recognition of the importance of patient preference and patient preference research at a greater level.”

Reed has worked with Johnson for the last four years on the Preference Evaluation Research Group, where they translate patients’ concerns and preferences into quantitative scientific evidence and address questions about representativeness and how to quantify the relative importance of different aspects of care and outcomes. According to Reed, Johnson has not only been the driver for the initial success of the group, but also the reason more and more people are acknowledging and recognizing the group’s work.

“Dr. Johnson is very generous in his mentorship and I continue to learn a tremendous amount from him, said Reed. “I congratulate him for this much deserving honor.”