What matters to patients when choosing a physician? Expertise? Bedside manner? Previous relationship with the physician?
To answer this question, a paper by Groenewoud et al. (2015) conducts a discrete choice experiment (DCE) survey of Dutch patients with knee arthrosis, chronic depression, or Alzheimer’s disease. They found that patient preferences for their physician depended on the disease.
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.
Thus, a one-size-fits-all approach to measuring physician quality may not best match patients’ true preferences for provider characteristics.
- Groenewoud, S., Van Exel, N. J. A., Bobinac, A., Berg, M., Huijsman, R. and Stolk, E. A. (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 Experiments. Health Services Research, 50: 1941–1972. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12306