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Exploring what lies behind public preferences for avoiding health losses caused by lapses in healthcare safety and patient lifestyle choices

Singh, J; Longworth, L; Baine, A; Lord, J; Orr, S; Buxton, M; (2013) Exploring what lies behind public preferences for avoiding health losses caused by lapses in healthcare safety and patient lifestyle choices. BMC Health Services Research , 13 , Article 249. 10.1186/1472-6963-13-249. Green open access

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Abstract

Background Although many studies have identified public preferences for prioritising health care interventions based on characteristics of recipient or care, very few of them have examined the reasons for the stated preferences. We conducted an on-line person trade-off (PTO) study (N=1030) to investigate whether the public attach a premium to the avoidance of ill health associated with alternative types of responsibilities: lapses in healthcare safety, those caused by individual action or lifestyle choice; or genetic conditions. We found that the public gave higher priority to prevention of harm in a hospital setting such as preventing hospital associated infections than genetic disorder but drug administration errors were valued similar to genetic disorders. Prevention of staff injuries, lifestyle diseases and sports injuries, were given lower priority. In this paper we aim to understand the reasoning behind the responses by analysing comments provided by respondents to the PTO questions. Method A majority of the respondents who participated in the survey provided brief comments explaining preferences in free text responses following PTO questions. This qualitative data was transformed into explicit codes conveying similar meanings. An overall coding framework was developed and a reliability test was carried out. Recurrent patterns were identified in each preference group. Comments which challenged the assumptions of hypothetical scenarios were also investigated. Results NHS causation of illness and a duty of care were the most cited reasons to prioritise lapses in healthcare safety. Personal responsibility dominated responses for lifestyle related contexts, and many respondents mentioned that health loss was the result of the individual’s choice to engage in risky behaviour. A small proportion of responses questioned the assumptions underlying the PTO questions. However excluding these from the main analysis did not affect the conclusions. Conclusion Although some responses indicated misunderstanding or rejection of assumptions we put forward, the results were still robust. The reasons put forward for responses differed between comparisons but responsibility was the most frequently cited. Most preference elicitation studies only focus on eliciting numerical valuations but allowing for qualitative data can augment understanding of preferences as well as verifying results.

Type: Article
Title: Exploring what lies behind public preferences for avoiding health losses caused by lapses in healthcare safety and patient lifestyle choices
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-249
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-13-249
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Singh et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. PubMed ID: 23819651
Keywords: Health care safety, Stated preferences, Hypothetical scenarios, Priority setting
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1407655
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