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1.  The Effect of Including an Opt-Out Option in Discrete Choice Experiments 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111805.
Objective
to determine to what extent the inclusion of an opt-out option in a DCE may have an effect on choice behaviour and therefore might influence the attribute level estimates, the relative importance of the attributes and calculated trade-offs.
Methods
781 Dutch Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus patients completed a questionnaire containing nine choice tasks with an opt-out option and nice forced choice tasks. Mixed-logit models were used to estimate the relative importance of the five lifestyle program related attributes that were included. Willingness to pay (WTP) values were calculated and it was tested whether results differed between respondents who answered the choice tasks with an opt-out option in the first or second part of the questionnaire.
Results
21.4% of the respondents always opted out. Respondents who were given the opt-out option in the first part of the questionnaire as well as lower educated respondents significantly more often opted out. For both the forced and unforced choice model, different attributes showed significant estimates, the relative importance of the attributes was equal. However, due to differences in relative importance weights, the WTP values for the PA schedule differed significantly between both datasets.
Conclusions
Results show differences in opting out based on the location of the opt-out option and respondents' educational level; this resulted in small differences between the forced and unforced choice model. Since respondents seem to learn from answering forced choice tasks, a dual response design might result in higher data quality compared to offering a direct opt-out option. Future research should empirically explore how choice sets should be presented to make them as easy and less complex as possible in order to reduce the proportion of respondents that opts-out due to choice task complexity. Moreover, future research should debrief respondents to examine the reasons for choosing the opt-out alternative.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111805
PMCID: PMC4218820  PMID: 25365169
2.  The effect of out-of-pocket costs and financial rewards in a discrete choice experiment: an application to lifestyle programs 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):870.
Background
Both out-of-pocket costs and financial rewards can be used to influence health related behavior. However, it is unclear which of these two has a larger effect on health related behavior. The aim of this study was to explore the possible difference in effect size between out-of-pocket costs and financial rewards on the willingness of diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) patients to participate in a lifestyle program.
Methods
A discrete choice experiment (DCE) questionnaire was sent to 767 DM2 patients in a geographically defined area (De Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht) in The Netherlands and completed by 206 of them. The questionnaire comprised of 18 choice tasks of which 9 contained a financial reward for lifestyle program completion, while the other 9 included out-of-pocket costs for program participation. In a second version of the questionnaire, the order of out-of-pocket cost and financial reward choice tasks was counterbalanced to reduce bias with respect to the position (first or second) of the two types of choice tasks. Panel-mixed-multinomial-logit models were used for data analysis.
Results
Increasing out-of-pocket costs were associated with a decreasing willingness to participate in a lifestyle program and, contrary to our expectations, increasing financial rewards were also associated with a decreasing willingness to participate in a lifestyle program. In addition, this willingness to participate changed to the same extent for both increasing out-of-pocket costs and increasing financial rewards.
Conclusions
As expected, increasing out-of-pocket costs may prevent people from deciding to participate in a lifestyle program. However, offering a financial reward to persuade people to participate in a lifestyle program, may result in decreasing willingness to participate in a lifestyle program as well.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-870
PMCID: PMC4153916  PMID: 25151503
Out-of-pocket costs; Financial rewards; Lifestyle programs; Discrete choice experiment; Willingness to participate; Diabetes mellitus type 2
3.  Acceptance of Vaccinations in Pandemic Outbreaks: A Discrete Choice Experiment 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102505.
Background
Preventive measures are essential to limit the spread of new viruses; their uptake is key to their success. However, the vaccination uptake in pandemic outbreaks is often low. We aim to elicit how disease and vaccination characteristics determine preferences of the general public for new pandemic vaccinations.
Methods
In an internet-based discrete choice experiment (DCE) a representative sample of 536 participants (49% participation rate) from the Dutch population was asked for their preference for vaccination programs in hypothetical communicable disease outbreaks. We used scenarios based on two disease characteristics (susceptibility to and severity of the disease) and five vaccination program characteristics (effectiveness, safety, advice regarding vaccination, media attention, and out-of-pocket costs). The DCE design was based on a literature review, expert interviews and focus group discussions. A panel latent class logit model was used to estimate which trade-offs individuals were willing to make.
Results
All above mentioned characteristics proved to influence respondents’ preferences for vaccination. Preference heterogeneity was substantial. Females who stated that they were never in favor of vaccination made different trade-offs than males who stated that they were (possibly) willing to get vaccinated. As expected, respondents preferred and were willing to pay more for more effective vaccines, especially if the outbreak was more serious (€6–€39 for a 10% more effective vaccine). Changes in effectiveness, out-of-pocket costs and in the body that advises the vaccine all substantially influenced the predicted uptake.
Conclusions
We conclude that various disease and vaccination program characteristics influence respondents’ preferences for pandemic vaccination programs. Agencies responsible for preventive measures during pandemics can use the knowledge that out-of-pocket costs and the way advice is given affect vaccination uptake to improve their plans for future pandemic outbreaks. The preference heterogeneity shows that information regarding vaccination needs to be targeted differently depending on gender and willingness to get vaccinated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102505
PMCID: PMC4109921  PMID: 25057914
4.  The preferences of users of electronic medical records in hospitals: quantifying the relative importance of barriers and facilitators of an innovation 
Background
Currently electronic medical records (EMRs) are implemented in hospitals, because of expected benefits for quality and safety of care. However the implementation processes are not unproblematic and are slower than needed. Many of the barriers and facilitators of the adoption of EMRs are identified, but the relative importance of these factors is still undetermined. This paper quantifies the relative importance of known barriers and facilitators of EMR, experienced by the users (i.e., nurses and physicians in hospitals).
Methods
A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted among physicians and nurses. Participants answered ten choice sets containing two scenarios. Each scenario included attributes that were based on previously identified barriers in the literature: data entry hardware, technical support, attitude head of department, performance feedback, flexibility of interface, and decision support. Mixed Multinomial Logit analysis was used to determine the relative importance of the attributes.
Results
Data on 148 nurses and 150 physicians showed that high flexibility of the interface was the factor with highest relative importance in their preference to use an EMR. For nurses this attribute was followed by support from the head of department, presence of performance feedback from the EMR and presence of decisions support. While for physicians this ordering was different: presence of decision support was relatively more important than performance feedback and support from the head of department.
Conclusion
Considering the prominent wish of all the intended users for a flexible interface, currently used EMRs only partially comply with the needs of the users, indicating the need for closer incorporation of user needs during development stages of EMRs. The differences in priorities amongst nurses and physicians show that different users have different needs during the implementation of innovations. Hospital management may use this information to design implementation trajectories to fit the needs of various user groups.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-69
PMCID: PMC4088913  PMID: 24898277
Electronic Medical Record; Implementation; Discrete choice experiment; Adopter preferences; Barriers and facilitators; Clinicians
5.  Type 2 diabetes patients’ preferences and willingness to pay for lifestyle programs: a discrete choice experiment 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1099.
Background
Participation rates of lifestyle programs among type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients are less than optimal around the globe. Whereas research shows notable delays in the development of the disease among lifestyle program participants. Very little is known about the relative importance of barriers for participation as well as the willingness of T2DM patients to pay for participation in such programs. The aim of this study was to identify the preferences of T2DM patients with regard to lifestyle programs and to calculate participants’ willingness to pay (WTP) as well as to estimate the potential participation rates of lifestyle programs.
Methods
A Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) questionnaire assessing five different lifestyle program attributes was distributed among 1250 Dutch adults aged 35–65 years with T2DM, 391 questionnaires (31%) were returned and included in the analysis. The relative importance of the program attributes (i.e., meal plan, physical activity (PA) schedule, consultation structure, expected program outcome and out-of-pocket costs) was determined using panel-mixed logit models. Based on the retrieved attribute estimates, patients’ WTP and potential participation rates were determined.
Results
The out-of-pocket costs (β = −0.75, P < .001), consultation structure (β = −0.46, P < .001) and expected outcome (β = 0.72, P < .001) were the most important factors for respondents when deciding whether to participate in a lifestyle program. Respondents were willing to pay €128 per year for individual instead of group consultation and €97 per year for 10 kilograms anticipated weight loss. Potential participation rates for different lifestyle-program scenarios ranged between 48.5% and 62.4%.
Conclusions
When deciding whether to participate in a lifestyle program, T2DM patients are mostly driven by low levels of out-of-pocket costs. Thereafter, they prefer individual consultation and high levels of anticipated outcomes with respect to weight loss.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1099
PMCID: PMC3909291  PMID: 24289831
Discrete choice experiment; Preferences; Diabetes mellitus type 2; Lifestyle program; Participation rate; Willingness to participate; Willingness to pay
6.  Differentiating innovation priorities among stakeholder in hospital care 
Background
Decisions to adopt a particular innovation may vary between stakeholders because individual stakeholders may disagree on the costs and benefits involved. This may translate to disagreement between stakeholders on priorities in the implementation process, possibly explaining the slow diffusion of innovations in health care. In this study, we explore the differences in stakeholder preferences for innovations, and quantify the difference in stakeholder priorities regarding costs and benefits.
Methods
The decision support technique called the analytic hierarchy process was used to quantify the preferences of stakeholders for nine information technology (IT) innovations in hospital care. The selection of the innovations was based on a literature review and expert judgments. Decision criteria related to the costs and benefits of the innovations were defined. These criteria were improvement in efficiency, health gains, satisfaction with care process, and investments required. Stakeholders judged the importance of the decision criteria and subsequently prioritized the selected IT innovations according to their expectations of how well the innovations would perform for these decision criteria.
Results
The stakeholder groups (patients, nurses, physicians, managers, health care insurers, and policy makers) had different preference structures for the innovations selected. For instance, self-tests were one of the innovations most preferred by health care insurers and managers, owing to their expected positive impacts on efficiency and health gains. However, physicians, nurses and patients strongly doubted the health gains of self-tests, and accordingly ranked self-tests as the least-preferred innovation.
Conclusions
The various stakeholder groups had different expectations of the value of the nine IT innovations. The differences are likely due to perceived stakeholder benefits of each innovation, and less to the costs to individual stakeholder groups. This study provides a first exploratory quantitative insight into stakeholder positions concerning innovation in health care, and presents a novel way to study differences in stakeholder preferences. The results may be taken into account by decision makers involved in the implementation of innovations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-91
PMCID: PMC3751765  PMID: 23947398
Implementation; Information technology; Innovation; Hospital care; Stakeholders
7.  Needs and barriers to improve the collaboration in oral anticoagulant therapy: a qualitative study 
Background
Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) involves many health care disciplines. Even though collaboration between care professionals is assumed to improve the quality of OAT, very little research has been done into the practice of OAT management to arrange and manage the collaboration. This study aims to identify the problems in collaboration experienced by the care professionals involved, the solutions they proposed to improve collaboration, and the barriers they encountered to the implementation of these solutions.
Methods
In the Netherlands, intensive follow-up of OAT is provided by specialized anticoagulant clinics (ACs). Sixty-eight semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 103 professionals working at an AC. These semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively. Wagner's chronic care model (CCM) and Cabana's framework for improvement were used to categorize the results.
Results
AC professionals experienced three main bottlenecks in collaboration: lack of knowledge (mostly of other professionals), lack of consensus on OAT, and limited information exchange between professionals. They mentioned several solutions to improve collaboration, especially solutions of CCM's decision support component (i.e. education, regular meetings, and agreements and protocols). Education is considered a prerequisite for the successful implementation of other proposed solutions such as developing a multidisciplinary protocol and changing the allocation of tasks. The potential of the health care organization to improve collaboration seemed to be underestimated by professionals. They experienced several barriers to the successful implementation of the proposed solutions. Most important barriers were the lack motivation of non-AC professionals and lack of time to establish collaboration.
Conclusions
This study revealed that the collaboration in OAT is limited by a lack of knowledge, a lack of consensus, and a limited information exchange. Education was identified as the best way to improve collaboration and considered a prerequisite for a successful implementation of other proposed solutions. Hence, the implementation sequence is of importance in order to improve the collaboration successfully. First step is to establish alignment regarding collaboration with all involved professionals to encounter the lack of motivation of non-AC professionals and lack of time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-76
PMCID: PMC3268100  PMID: 22192088
8.  Willingness to participate in a lifestyle intervention program of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a conjoint analysis 
Background
Several studies suggest that lifestyle interventions can be effective for people with, or at risk for, diabetes. The participation in lifestyle interventions is generally low. Financial incentives may encourage participation in lifestyle intervention programs.
Objective
The main aim of this exploratory analysis is to study empirically potential effects of financial incentives on diabetes patients’ willingness to participate in lifestyle interventions. One financial incentive is negative (“copayment”) and the other incentive is positive (“bonus”). The key part of this research is to contrast both incentives. The second aim is to investigate the factors that influence participation in a lifestyle intervention program.
Methods
Conjoint analysis techniques were used to empirically identify factors that influence willingness to participate in a lifestyle intervention. For this purpose diabetic patients received a questionnaire with descriptions of various forms of hypothetical lifestyle interventions. They were asked if they would be willing to participate in these hypothetical programs.
Results
In total, 174 observations were rated by 46 respondents. Analysis showed that money was an important factor independently associated with respondents’ willingness to participate. Receiving a bonus seemed to be associated with a higher willingness to participate, but having to pay was negatively associated with participation in the lifestyle intervention.
Conclusion
Conjoint analysis results suggest that financial considerations may influence willingness to participate in lifestyle intervention programs. Financial disincentives in the form of copayments might discourage participation. Although the positive impact of bonuses is smaller than the negative impact of copayments, bonuses could still be used to encourage willingness to participate.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S16854
PMCID: PMC3218115  PMID: 22114468
incentives; bonus; copayment; conjoint analysis; willingness to participate
9.  Differences in patient outcomes and chronic care management of oral anticoagulant therapy: an explorative study 
Background
The oral anticoagulant therapy - provided to prevent thrombosis - is known to be associated with substantial avoidable hospitalization. Improving the quality of the oral anticoagulant therapy could avoid drug related hospitalizations. Therefore, this study compared the patient outcomes between Dutch anticoagulant clinic (AC) regions taking the variation in chronic care management into account in order to explore whether chronic care management elements could improve the quality of oral anticoagulant therapy.
Methods
Two data sources were combined. The first source was a questionnaire that was send to all ACs in the Netherlands in 2008 (response = 100%) to identify the application of chronic care management elements in the AC regions. The Chronic Care Model of Wagner was used to make the concept of chronic care management operational. The second source was the report of the Dutch National Network of ACs which contains patient outcomes of the ACs.
Results
Patient outcomes achieved by the ACs were good, yet differences existed; for instance the percentage of patients in the appropriate therapeutic ranges varied from 67 to 87% between AC regions. Moreover, differences existed in the use of chronic care management elements of the chronic care model, for example 12% of the ACs had multidisciplinary meetings and 58% of the ACs had formal agreements with at least one hospital within their region. Patient outcomes were significantly associated with patient orientation and the number of specialized nurses versus doctors (p-values < 0.05). Furthermore, the overall extent to which chronic care management elements were applied was positively associated with patient outcomes (p-values < 0.05).
Conclusions
Substantial differences in the patient outcomes as well as chronic care management of oral anticoagulant therapy existed. Since our results showed a positive association between overall application of chronic care management and patient outcomes, additional research is needed to fully understand the working mechanism of chronic care management.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-18
PMCID: PMC3040705  PMID: 21272303

Results 1-9 (9)