Patients’ preferences for telemedicine versus in-clinic consultation in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic

I. Mozes, D. Mossinson, H. Schilder, D. Dvir, O. Baron-Epel, A. Heymann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Hybrid Patient Care system integrates telehealth and in-clinic consultation. While COVID-19 increased telehealth use, healthcare providers are still seeking the best combination of virtual and in-clinic consultation. Understanding patients’ tele-consultation-related preferences is vital for achieving optimal implementation. The discrete choice experiment (DCE) is the stated preference technique for eliciting individual preferences and is increasingly being used in health-related applications. The study purpose was to evaluate attributes and levels of the DCE regarding patients’ preferences for telemedicine versus traditional, in-clinic consultation in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to facilitate successful implementation. Methods: A three-phase structure was used in the qualitative stage of the DCE: (1) a literature review and preparation of interview guides; (2) Eight focus group interviews comprised of 26 patients and 33 physicians; and (3) Attribute selection: a ranking exercise among 48 patients. The Think Aloud technique, in which respondents are asked to verbalize their thoughts, was used in the focus groups. Interview data were analyzed by thematic analysis. Results: Eight attributes were proposed by the patients in the focus groups. The four most important attributes were then selected in pre-testing, and are described in this study: Availability, time until the appointment, severity of the medical problem, patient-physician relationship, and flexible reception hours. Conclusions: This study has a theoretical contribution in post-COVID-19 patients’ preferences in Hybrid Medicine patient care. This provides a foundation to assess the rigors of this stage and provide additional evidence to the limited existing literature on attributes development for DCE patient preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalBMC Primary Care
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the patients and primary care physicians for participating in the study and sharing their experiences and considerations in choosing Hybrid Medicine Channels. We also thank Dr. Irit Chudner from School of Behavioral Sciences & Psychology in College of Management Academic Studies for the help with the data collection and analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Hybrid primary care
  • Patients’ preferences
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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