What Influences Patients' Decisions When Choosing a Health Care Provider? Measuring Preferences of Patients with Knee Arthrosis, Chronic Depression, or Alzheimer's Disease, Using Discrete Choice Experiments

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Abstract

Objective.

To investigate what influences patients' health care decisions and what the implications are for the provision of information on the quality of health care providers to patients.

Data Sources/Study Setting.

Dutch patient samples between November 2006 and February 2007.

Study Design.

Discrete choice experiments were conducted in three patient groups to explore what influences choice for health care providers.

Data Collection.

Data were obtained from 616 patients with knee arthrosis, 368 patients with chronic depression, and 421 representatives of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Principal Findings.

The three patients groups chose health care providers on a different basis. The most valued attributes were effectiveness and safety (knee arthrosis); continuity of care and relationship with the therapist (chronic depression); and expertise (Alzheimer's disease). Preferences differed between subgroups, mainly in relation to patients' choice profiles, severity of disease, and some background characteristics.

Conclusions.

This study showed that there is substantial room for (quality) information about health care providers in patients' decision processes. This information should be tailor-made, targeting specific patient segments, because different actors and factors play a part in their search and selection process.

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