A socially interdependent choice framework for social influences in healthcare decision-making: a study protocol

Sven P H Nouwens*, Jorien Veldwijk, Luis Pilli, Joffre Swait, Joanna Coast, Esther W de Bekker-Grob

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVES: Current choice models in healthcare (and beyond) can provide suboptimal predictions of healthcare users' decisions. One reason for such inaccuracy is that standard microeconomic theory assumes that decisions of healthcare users are made in a social vacuum. Healthcare choices, however, can in fact be (entirely) socially determined. To achieve more accurate choice predictions within healthcare and therefore better policy decisions, the social influences that affect healthcare user decision-making need to be identified and explicitly integrated into choice models. The purpose of this study is to develop a socially interdependent choice framework of healthcare user decision-making.

DESIGN: A mixed-methods approach will be used. A systematic literature review will be conducted that identifies the social influences on healthcare user decision-making. Based on the outcomes of a systematic literature review, an interview guide will be developed that assesses which, and how, social influences affect healthcare user decision-making in four different medical fields. This guide will be used during two exploratory focus groups to assess the engagement of participants and clarity of questions and probes. The refined interview guide will be used to conduct the semistructured interviews with healthcare professionals and users. These interviews will explore in detail which, and how, social influences affect healthcare user decision-making. Focus group and interview transcripts will be analysed iteratively using a constant comparative approach based on a mix of inductive and deductive coding. Based on the outcomes, a social influence independent choice framework for healthcare user decision-making will be drafted. Finally, the Delphi technique will be employed to achieve consensus about the final version of this choice framework.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study was approved by the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management Research Ethics Review Committee (ESHPM, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; reference ETH2122-0666).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere079768
JournalBMJ open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2024

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Published by BMJ.


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