To identify consumers’ preferences over care settings, such as physicians’ offices, emergency rooms (s), urgent care centers, retail clinics, and virtual physicians on smartphones, for minor illnesses.
A survey conducted between 9/27/16 and 12/7/16 emailed to all University of California, Irvine employees.
Participants were presented with 10 clinical scenarios and asked to choose the setting in which they wanted to receive care. We estimated multinomial conditional logit regression models, conditioning the choice on out‐of‐pocket costs, wait time, travel time, and chooser characteristics.
5451 out of 21 037 employees responded.
Out‐of‐pocket costs and wait time had minimal impact on patient's preference for site of care. Choices were driven primarily by the clinical scenario and patient characteristics. For chronic conditions and children's well‐visits, the doctor's office was the preferred choice by a strong majority, but for most acute conditions, either the (for high severity) or urgent care clinics (for lower severity) were preferred to the office setting, particularly among younger patients and those with less education.
Patients have several alternatives to traditional physicians’ offices and s. The low impact of out‐of‐pocket costs suggests that insurers interested in encouraging increased utilization of alternatives would need to consider substantial changes to benefit structure.