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VOLUME 50 | NUMBER 6 | DECEMBER 2015


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

Keywords: Quality indicators; discrete choice experiment; patient preferences; health services research; quality assurance.

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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