Are patients willing to pay for total shoulder arthroplasty? Evidence from a discrete choice experiment
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BACKGROUND: Total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) is a common treatment to decrease pain and improve shoulder function in patients with severe osteoarthritis (OA). In Canada, patients requiring this procedure often wait a year or more. Our objective was to determine patient preferences related to accessing TSA, specifically comparing out-of-pocket payments for treatment, travel time to hospital, the surgeon's level of experience and wait times. METHODS: We administered a discrete choice experiment among patients with endstage shoulder OA currently waiting for TSA. Respondents were presented with 14 different choice sets, each with 3 options, and they were asked to choose their preferred scenario. A conditional logit regression model was used to estimate the relative preference and willingness to pay for each attribute. RESULTS: Sixty-two respondents completed the questionnaire. Three of the 4 attributes significantly influenced treatment preferences. Respondents had a strong preference for an experienced surgeon (mean 0.89 ± standard error [SE] 0.11), while reductions in travel time (-0.07 ± 0.04) or wait time (-0.04 ± 0.01) were of less importance. Respondents were found to be strongly averse (-1.44 ± 0.18) to surgical treatment by a less experienced surgeon and to paying out-of-pocket for their surgical treatment (-0.56 ± 0.05). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that patients waiting for TSA to treat severe shoulder OA have minimal willingness to pay for a reduction in wait time or travel time for surgery, yet will pay higher amounts for treatment by an experienced surgeon.
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