Choosing a Doctor: Does Presentation Format Affect the Way Consumers Use Health Care Performance Information?
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Choosing a new health service provider can be difficult and is dependent on the type and clarity of the information available. This study examines if the presentation of service quality information affects the decisions of consumers choosing a general medical practice.
The aim was to examine the impact of presentation format on attribute level interpretation and relative importance.
A discrete choice experiment eliciting preferences for a general medical practice was conducted using four different presentation formats for service quality attributes: (1) frequency and percentage with an icon array, (2) star ratings, (3) star ratings with a text benchmark, and (4) percentage alone. A total of 1208 respondents from an online panel were randomised to see two formats, answering nine choices for each, where one was a dominated choice. Logistic regression was used to assess the impact of presentation format on the probability of choosing a dominated alternative. A generalised multinomial logit model was used to estimate the relative importance of the attribute levels.
The probability of incorrectly choosing a dominated alternative was significantly higher when the quality information was presented as a percentage relative to a frequency with icon array, star rating or bench-marked star rating. Preferences for a practice did not differ significantly by presentation format, nor did the probability of finding the information difficult to understand.
Quantitative health service quality information will be more useful to consumers if presented by combining the numerical information with a graphic, or using a star rating if appropriate for the context.
KeywordsPresentation Format Attribute Level Discrete Choice Experiment Thought Style Star Rating
Stephen Goodall and Patricia Kenny conceptualised and designed the study with input from Deborah Street and Jessica Greene. Deborah Street produced the design for the discrete choice experiment. Patricia Kenny analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. All authors edited the manuscript and approved the final version.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The research was part of a programme of research that was approved by the University of Technology Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval 2015000135). Participants were adult volunteers with an online panel and indicated consent by completing the online survey. Patricia Kenny has no potential conflicts of interest to declare. Stephen Goodall has no potential conflicts of interest to declare. Deborah Street has no potential conflicts of interest to declare. Jessica Greene has no potential conflicts of interest to declare.
The research was funded by the Research in the Finance and Economics of Primary Health Care (ReFinE-PHC) Centre of Research Excellence under the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute’s (APHCRI’s) Centres of Research Excellence funding scheme, which was supported by a grant from the Australian Government’s Department of Health. The paper does not necessarily reflect the views of APHCRI or the Australian Government.
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