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Analyzing Preferences for Virtual Care Models: A Systematic Review of Discrete Choice Experiments

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A systematic review has synthesized evidence from discrete choice experiments (DCEs) to analyze preferences for various virtual care models. The review also evaluated the quality of these DCEs and compared the relative preferences of different stakeholder groups. The included articles spanned from January 2010 to December 2022.

An extensive array of virtual care modalities were covered in the 21 studies included in the review, with virtual consultations for outpatient management of chronic conditions being the most prevalent. A total of 135 attributes were identified and categorized into six areas: service delivery, service quality, technical aspects, monetary aspects, health provider characteristics, and health consumer characteristics.

While attributes about service delivery were reported most frequently, they were ranked lower in terms of importance. In contrast, service costs consistently proved to be significant in all studies where they were mentioned, suggesting their crucial role to the respondents. When it came to health providers’ preferences, attributes such as system performance or professional endorsement were deemed most important.

Virtual Care Model

Virtual Care Model Preferences and the Need for Standardization in DCE Research

However, there was notable heterogeneity in attribute selection and preference outcomes across studies focusing on health consumers’ preferences. This indicates that the local context plays a key role in the design and delivery of person-centered virtual care services. The experimental design and analysis methods of the included studies were generally well-reported and justified, with observed improvements in DCE design and analysis quality in recent years, particularly in the attribute development process.

The review suggests that more research is needed to develop a standardized approach for quantitatively synthesizing DCE findings, given the growing use of DCEs within healthcare settings. Additionally, further research into preferences for virtual care in post-pandemic contexts is necessary, as emerging evidence indicates that these preferences may differ from those observed pre-pandemic.


Original Article DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116459

Original title: Stakeholders’ preferences for the design and delivery of virtual care services: A systematic review of discrete choice experiments

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