Objectives To systematically review the existing literature on the value associated with convenience in health care delivery, independent of health outcomes, and to try to estimate the likely magnitude of any value found.
Methods A systematic search was conducted for previously published studies that reported preferences for convenience-related aspects of health care delivery in a manner that was consistent with either cost-utility analysis or cost-benefit analysis. Data were analyzed in terms of the methodologies used, the aspects of convenience considered, and the values reported.
Results Literature searches generated 4715 records. Following a review of abstracts or full-text articles, 27 were selected for inclusion. Twenty-six studies reported some evidence of convenience-related process utility, in the form of either a positive utility or a positive willingness to pay. The aspects of convenience valued most often were mode of administration (n = 11) and location of treatment (n = 6). The most common valuation methodology was a discrete-choice experiment containing a cost component (n = 15).
Conclusions A preference for convenience-related process utility exists, independent of health outcomes. Given the diverse methodologies used to calculate it, and the range of aspects being valued, however, it is difficult to assess how large such a preference might be, or how it may be effectively incorporated into an economic evaluation. Increased consistency in reporting these preferences is required to assess these issues more accurately.
- health care
- preference elicitation
- process utility
- systematic review