Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

George Torrance

BSc. (Toronto), MBA (Toronto), PhD (SUNY-Buffalo)

Professor Emeritus, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and DeGroote School of Business

Member, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA)

Associate Member of the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines

Principal, Health Utilities Inc.




George Torrance is one of the founding fathers of the field of economic evaluation in health, was the first researcher at McMaster in this field, and has been a member of CHEPA since its inception. His publications in the field of economic evaluation of health care include both contributions to the methods, some of which he has pioneered, and applications in various clinical areas. Methodological contributions include the use of utility theory, and particularly multi-attribute utility theory, to measure individuals' preferences for health outcomes. Applications have included neonatal intensive care, end-stage kidney disease, childhood cancer, post-MI rehabilitation, new arthritis treatments, prenatal diagnosis, depression, total knee replacement, workers' compensation board awards, and the measurement of population health. He has served as a local district health council member and as a hospital board member in addition to his numerous consultancies for national and international health-care organizations and agencies. In the field of methods for economic evaluation, he has co-authored the leading text book (Drummond et al., 1987, 1997 and 2005), the Canadian guidelines (CCOHTA 1994 and 1997), and the U.S. Public Health Service guidelines (Gold et al., 1996).

Dr. Torrance received the 2001 Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making, the 2002 President’s Award from the International Society of Quality of Life Research, the 2006 Avedis Donabedian Outcomes Research Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and in 2006 was inducted into the McMaster University Health Science’s Community of Distinction.

Selected Publications

  1. Drummond MF, Sculpher MJ, Torrance GW , O'Brien BJ, Stoddart GL. Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes, Third Edition, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2005.
  2. Torrance GW , Raynauld J-P, Walker V, Goldsmith CH, Bellamy N, Band PA, Schultz M, Tugwell P. A prospective, randomized, pragmatic health outcomes trial evaluating the incorporation of hylan G-F 20 into the treatment paradigm for patients with knee osteoarthritis (part 2 of 2): economic results. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 10 (7 July): 518-527, 2002.
  3. Torrance GW , Feeny D, Furlong W. "Visual Analog Scales: Do they have a Role in the Measurement of Preferences for Health States?" Medical Decision Making. Vol. 21, No.4, July-August 2001, pp. 329-334.
  4. Furlong WJ, Feeny DH, Torrance GW, Barr RD. "The Health Utilities Index (HUI) System for Assessing Health-Related Quality of Life in Clinical Studies." Annals of Medicine. Vol. 33, No. 5, July 2001, pp. 375-384.
  5. Torrance GW , Siegel JE, Luce BR. "Framing and Designing the Cost-Effectiveness Analysis". Chapter 3 in Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine. MR Gold, JE Siegel, LB Russell and MC Weinstein (eds). New York : Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 54-81.
  6. Torrance GW , Feeny DH, Furlong WJ, Barr RD, Zhang Y, Wang Q. "Multiattribute Utility Function for a Comprehensive Health Status Classification System: Health Utilities Index Mark 2." Medical Care, Vol. 34, No. 7, July 1996, pp. 702-722.
  7. Torrance GW , Feeny D. "Utilities and Quality-Adjusted Life Years". Int J of Technology Assessment in Health Care, Vol.5, No.4, 1989, pp.559-575.
  8. Torrance GW . "Measurement of Health State Utilities for Economic Appraisal: A Review", Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1986, pp. 1-30.
  9. Boyle MH, Torrance GW , Sinclair JC, Horwood SP. "Economic Evaluation of Neonatal Intensive Care of Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants", New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 308, June 2, 1983 , pp. 1330-37.
  10. Torrance GW , Boyle MH, Horwood SP. Application of Multi-Attribute Utility Theory to Measure Social Preferences for Health States", Operations Research, Vol. 30, No. 6, Nov.-Dec.1982, pp. 1043-1069.

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