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Health Econ Rev. 2013 Dec 18;3(1):30. doi: 10.1186/2191-1991-3-30.

Evaluating the concordance of physician judgments and patient preferences on AIDS/HIV therapy - a Discrete Choice Experiment.

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Hochschule Neubrandenburg, Brodaer Straße 2, Neubrandenburg 17033, Germany.



Patient-centered health care and shared decision making are of increasing importance in the management of AIDS/HIV patients and require an intensive consideration of patient preferences. The present study assesses expectations and needs of patients from the physician point of view. The aim of this study was to compare patient and physician perspectives of relevant aspects of treatment quality such as effectiveness, quality of life and further treatment options.


The study was performed as an anonymous survey including German physicians. Physicians treating large numbers of AIDS/HIV patients were preferably contacted. The physicians were asked to assess their view of patient preferences of therapy characteristics using direct measurement, as well as by means of a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE). The questionnaire was adopted from a previous study in which AIDS/HIV patients were asked to assess their treatment preferences.


131 physicians completed the questionnaire, 88% of these on paper and 12% online. 70% of the physicians were male. The mean duration since licensure was 17 years. The most frequent specialist areas were internal medicine (N = 55), infectiology (N = 31) and general medicine (N = 27). In the direct measurement the most relevant therapy characteristics were "drug does not affect or not affect appearance much", "self-application of the drug is possible" and "rarely occurring longer periods of nausea and diarrhea". Six treatment characteristics were selected and used to generate eight virtual pairs of therapies. To evaluate the assessments a random effect logit model was employed. In view of the physicians avoidance of an obvious perceptibility of the disease the emotional quality of life had by far the strongest impact on the patients' treatment preferences as rated by physicians. With some distance the physical quality of life with less diarrhea or nausea, as well as the possibility to participate in social life followed on the same level.


Discrete Choice Experiment proved to be a valid survey technique in the evaluation of AIDS/HIV treatment preferences as assessed by patients and by physicians assessing the view of their patients. Covering a broad range of treatment characteristics, the physician assessments of preferences were very close to those of AIDS/HIV patients emphasizing the high impact of quality of life, in particular the emotional quality of life on patient preferences in the selection of treatments. Thus, the selection of particular treatment options should be accompanied by a deliberate consideration of treatment features, which need to be considered in order to maximize patient adherence and compliance.

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