Assessing patients' preferences for characteristics associated with homeopathic and conventional treatment of asthma: a conjoint analysis study

Ratcliffe, J.; Van Haselen, R.; Buxton, M.; Hardy, K.; Colehan, J.; Partridge, M.
June 2002
Thorax;Jun2002, Vol. 57 Issue 6, p503
Academic Journal
Background: A study was undertaken to investigate the preferences of patients with asthma for attributes or characteristics associated with treatment for their asthma and to investigate the extent to which such preferences may differ between patient subgroups. Methods: The economic technique of conjoint analysis (CA) was used to investigate patients' strength of preference for several key attributes associated with services for the treatment of asthma. A CA questionnaire was administered to two groups of asthma outpatients aged 1 8 years or older, 150 receiving conventional treatment at Whipps Cross Hospital (WC) and 150 receiving homeopathic treatment at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital (RL). Results: An overall response rate of 47% (n=142) was achieved. Statistically significant attributes in influencing preferences for both the WC and RL respondents were (1) the extent to which the doctor gave sufficient time to listen to what the patient has to say, (2) the extent to which the treatment seemed to relieve symptoms, and (3) the travel costs of attending for an asthma consultation. The extent to which the doctor treated the patient as a whole person was also a statistically significant attribute for the RL respondents. Conclusions: This study has shown that aspects associated with the process of delivery of asthma services are important to patients in addition to treatment outcomes. The homeopathic respondents expressed stronger preferences for the doctor to treat them as a whole person than the patients receiving conventional treatment. Overall, the preferences for the attributes included in the study were similar for both groups.


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