Toward patient-centered telerehabilitation design: Understanding chronic pain patients' preferences for web-based exercise telerehabilitation using a discrete choice experiment

Karlijn Cranen*, Catharina G.M. Groothuis-Oudshoorn, Miriam M.R. Vollenbroek-Hutten, Maarten J. IJzerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Patient-centered design that addresses patients' preferences and needs is considered an important aim for improving health care systems. At present, within the field of pain rehabilitation, patients' preferences regarding telerehabilitation remain scarcely explored and little is known about the optimal combination between human and electronic contact from the patients' perspective. In addition, limited evidence is available about the best way to explore patients' preferences. Therefore, the assessment of patients' preferences regarding telemedicine is an important step toward the design of effective patient-centered care. Objective: To identify which telerehabilitation treatment options patients with chronic pain are most likely to accept as alternatives to conventional rehabilitation and assess which treatment attributes are most important to them. Methods: A discrete choice experiment with 15 choice tasks, combining 6 telerehabilitation treatment characteristics, was designed. Each choice task consisted of 2 hypothetical treatment scenarios and 1 opt-out scenario. Relative attribute importance was estimated using a bivariate probit regression analysis. One hundred and thirty surveys were received, of which 104 were usable questionnaires; thus, resulting in a total of 1547 observations. Results: Physician communication mode, the use of feedback and monitoring technology (FMT), and exercise location were key drivers of patients' treatment preferences (P<.001). Patients were willing to accept less frequent physician consultation offered mainly through video communication, provided that they were offered FMT and some face-to-face consultation and could exercise outside their home environment at flexible exercise hours. Home-based telerehabilitation scenarios with minimal physician supervision were the least preferred. A reduction in health care premiums would make these telerehabilitation scenarios as attractive as conventional clinic-based rehabilitation. Conclusions: "Intermediate" telerehabilitation treatments offering FMT, some face-to-face consulting, and a gym-based exercise location should be pursued as promising alternatives to conventional chronic pain rehabilitation. Further research is necessary to explore whether strategies other than health care premium reductions could also increase the value of home telerehabilitation treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Karlijn Cranen, Catharina GM Groothuis-Oudshoorn, Miriam MR Vollenbroek-Hutten, Maarten J IJzerman.


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward patient-centered telerehabilitation design: Understanding chronic pain patients' preferences for web-based exercise telerehabilitation using a discrete choice experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this