Measuring consumer preference for models of diabetes care delivered by pharmacists
Evaluation of a community pharmacy disease management program for type 2 diabetes, ‘SugarCare’, was conducted. Compared with the standard care offered by pharmacists, this enhanced program offered patients closer monitoring of blood glucose levels, counselling about lifestyle, etc. The SugarCare study was funded by a grant but if the care is to continue some other method of financing must be found.
Objectives: This study aimed to measure consumer preference for one of the two types of care offered in the SugarCare study, the control/standard and the intervention/enhanced service; the strength of that preference; and participants’ willingness to pay (WTP) for their preferred care.
Methods: SugarCare was a parallel groups, control versus intervention, repeated measures design conducted in three areas of NSW, Australia. Patients in the Intervention group (enhanced care) had one initial visit to the pharmacy with six follow up visits over approximately 9 months. At these visits blood glucose was downloaded and patient care issues addressed. At the end of the service, a survey instrument was mailed to the intervention and control participants who were asked to read it and then expect a telephone call within 2 weeks of receipt. Responses were requested over the phone and the survey instrument completed by the researcher. WTP data were collected using a modified payment card method.
Results: Overall, 44/75 (59%; 47%-70% 95%CI) respondents expressed a preference for Scenario B (the enhanced care) while 31/75 (41%; 31%-52% 95%CI) preferred Scenario A (standard care) however, the difference was not statistically significant. The median maximum WTP was AUD10 for the enhanced care and AUD3.50 for the standard care (p<0.03).
Conclusions: While the WTP values expressed were significantly higher for the enhanced care they did not match with the cost providing that diabetes care. Discrete choice analysis has the potential to overcome some of the difficulties encountered with the contingent valuation technique used here. Further research is required before WTP values such as these could be used with confidence to determine funding policy.
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