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Research project: Benefit transfer study of Chlamydia Screening preferences using DCE data

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The aim is to empirically test for evidence of external validity of ‘benefit transfer' as a credible approach to value Chlamydia Screening services. The study is set in Portsmouth using subjects attending genito-urinary (GUM), family planning & sexual health out-reach clinics.

The study has four objectives:

(1) to undertake a replication discrete choice experiment (DCE)/willingness to pay (WTP) study to elicit women's preferences in the provision of Chlamydia screening in Portsmouth using the original questionnaire and methodology (Watson and Ryan; 2010).  Results will provide a stand-alone original piece of research which quantifies and better understands the preferences for Chlamydia screening of women who attend NHS clinics in the Portsmouth area.  These preferences reflect ‘known' values and as such provide the baseline for assessing external validity of the transfer values estimated.

(2) to conduct a series of benefit transfer analyses (BTA) to represent preferences from subjects at a new site and same setting (i.e. Portsmouth, FP clinics), and subjects at new site and new settings (i.e. Portsmouth, GUM & out-reach sexual health clinics) using DCE/WTP results (utility models 1 & 2, indirect WTP estimates of attributes and programmes and direct WTP) from the original study.

(3) to ascertain the external validity of transfer estimates by assessing transfer error rates (i.e. percentage difference between known utility/value estimates and those derived by benefit transfer).

(4) to expand the DCE/WTP survey to allow the possibility of a further sub-group analysis of women <25 years and >25 years.  The original survey focused on the target screening group but it is unknown whether older women hold the same preferences.

The hypothesis tested is that existing utility estimates obtained from the published survey can be credibly ‘transferred' from the original site (Aberdeen) to a new one (Portsmouth) to inform local policy. That is to say women's preferences for screening remain associated with patient experience factors such as place of screening, type of screening test, support, cost, risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and are relevant in the assessment of screening benefits alongside health outcomes and for predictions of take-up rates.

More generally as a consequence of this investigation we will be able learn more about when and how it may be more efficient to make use of existing health economics DCE results rather than obtain new estimates. Currently, the potential of DCE results for benefit transfer remains largely speculative.

This project is undertaken as part of Dr Gerard's Fellowship on Developing stated preference discrete choice experiments for improving the redesign of patient-led health services


Watson V and Ryan M (2010) Valuing patient experience factors in the provision of chlamydia screening. HERU Briefing Paper, University of Aberdeen, March 2010.

Project team

Dr Karen Gerard, Reader in Health Economics and NIHR Career Development Fellow Dr Tim Bolt, Research Fellow in Health Economics
Dr Verity Watson, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Harindra Veerakathy, Clinical Director

Project funder

NIHR Career Development Fellowship

Associated research themes

Service access, organization and delivery

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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