Choice effort and user valuation of telehealth primary care services

Last registered on November 30, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Choice effort and user valuation of telehealth primary care services
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008353
Initial registration date
October 21, 2021
Last updated
November 30, 2021, 2:19 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
LSE

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
LSE
PI Affiliation
LSE

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-25
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Telehealth platforms have emerged in many settings in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis where restrictions on movement prevented traditional face-to-face modes of care. Telehealth platforms have the potential to significantly reduce the cost required to receive medical advice, and expand the availability of providers in resource constrained settings such as South Africa. However, little is known about consumers' willingness-to-pay for such services and whether design characteristics including effort required to identify a provider and secure an appointment might impact demand for these services. To address this need, we use a multiple price list mechanism to elicit willingness-to-pay for telehealth primary care consultations where patients are randomly assigned to differing modes of provider choice.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lagarde, Mylene, Irene Papanicolas and Nicholas Stacey. 2021. "Choice effort and user valuation of telehealth primary care services." AEA RCT Registry. November 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8353-1.1
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
To investigate consumers' valuation of telehealth services, we conduct an online survey experiment. Individuals are randomized to complete willingness-to-pay elicitation exercises for differing vouchers for telehealth consultations with general practitioners. With each voucher, the convenience and effort required to identify and choose a provider differs. In the control, individuals have to access a website to view available providers, inspect the list and choose one before securing an appointment. In the first treatment, individuals will be sent by email a list of available providers, and not have to take further steps to identify which providers accept the voucher. While in the second treatment, individuals will not only receive a list of available providers but this list of providers will be ranked according to the participants preferences elicited through a hypothetical provider profile rating exercise.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-25
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness-to-pay for primary care consultations
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Respondents are recruited from an online panel and from google ads targetting individuals seeking the care of a private sector general practitioner. Respondents complete background survey modules that measure their demographic and socio-economic characteristics and health and healthcare seeking behaviours, before being randomly assigned to one of three provider choice treatments. In each treatment, respondents are presented with a voucher for a telehealth consultation with a general practitioner, where the convenience a participant would face in choosing their preferred provider differs, and then complete a WTP elicitation exercise.

The treatment arms are as follows:

Control: The control treatment corresponds to the prevailing mode of provider choice on the telehealth platform. Users are responsible for accessing the platform website, reviewing the information provided about available providers and identifying a preferred provider.

Treatment 1 (Convenient choice): Under Treatment 1, rather than individuals having to seek the list of available providers from an online source, they are provided with this information directly by email.

Treatment 2 (Ranked choice): Under Treatment 2 users are emailed a list of available providers and are ranked according to the respondent's own preferences. Their preferences are elicited through a profile rating exercise, where they rate a series of hypothetical profiles of doctors whose traits are randomly generated and the providers are ranked according to the ratings.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by survey platform random number generator.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1800
Sample size: planned number of observations
1800
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 individuals control, 600 individuals Treatment 1, 600 individuals Treatment 2
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Minimum detectable standardized effect size of approximately 0.2 standard deviations.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of the Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee (Non-medical)
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-15
IRB Approval Number
H21/07/49