Using a Discrete Choice Conjoint Experiment to Engage Stakeholders in the Design of an Outpatient Children’s Health Center
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OBJECTIVES: To engage users in the design of a regional child and youth health center. BACKGROUND: The perspective of users should be an integral component of a patient-centered, evidence-based approach to the design of health facilities. METHODS: We conducted a discrete choice conjoint experiment (DCE), a method from marketing research and health economics, as a component of a strategy to engage users in the preconstruction planning process. A sample of 467 participants (290 staff and 177 clients or community stakeholders) completed the DCE. RESULTS: Latent class analysis identified three segments with different design preferences. A group we termed an enhanced design (57%) segment preferred a fully featured facility with personal contacts at the start of visits (in-person check-in, personal waiting room notification, volunteer-assisted wayfinding, and visible security), a family resource center with a health librarian, and an outdoor playground equipped with covered heated pathways. The self-guided design segment (11%), in contrast, preferred a design allowing a more independent use of the facility (e.g., self-check-in at computer kiosks, color-coded wayfinding, and a self-guided family resource center). Designs affording privacy and personal contact with staff were important to the private design segment (32%). The theme and decor of the building was less important than interactive features and personal contacts. CONCLUSION: A DCE allowed us to engage users in the planning process by estimating the value of individual design elements, identifying segments with differing views, informing decisions regarding design trade-offs, and simulating user response to design options.
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