An Application of Rating Conjoint Analysis to Study the Importance of Quality-, Access- and Price-attributes to Health Care Consumers
Outside the health care sector, consumer preferences have been effectively studied using rating and ranking conjoint techniques. In the health care sector this technique has received less attention than its choice-based variant. Applications of rating and ranking method to health care issues are few. This paper presents an application of rating conjoint analysis to study the importance of quality, access and price to the health care consumers in Bulgaria. The paper first describes the rating conjoint method and its distinctive features compared to the choice-based and the ranking approach. The method is illustrated by the rating conjoint design applied in the study. Next, the impact of different quality-, access- and price-levels on the rating of physician profiles is analysed and the differences between the socio-demographic groups are examined. The results suggest that similar to other countries, the quality of care is a highly valued characteristic in Bulgaria, whereas access is perceived as less important. The considerable importance of patient payments further implies that Bulgarians are responsive to prices in the health care sector, especially the elderly, the village dwellers and the lowest income groups. The relevance of the results with regards to health policy and planning, as well as with regards to the methodology of rating conjoint analysis is discussed at the end of the paper. Copyright Springer 2005
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