Objectives: To explore factors related to emergency department (ED) attendances in Hong Kong, the authors piloted the application of conjoint analysis in eliciting patient preferences regarding ED visits.
Methods: The study recruited 390 semi-urgent or non-urgent patients from a targeted convenience sample of three large EDs. Respondents were asked to rank eight scenarios structured to explore the relative importance of three key attributes-self-perceived illness severity, waiting time, and consultation fee-that may result in an ED visit.
Results: Seventy-eight percent of the respondents would consider visiting a parallel clinic instead of the ED for semi-urgent and non-urgent conditions. The relative importance attached to illness severity, waiting time, and consultation fee were 47.8%, 33.6%, and 18.7%, respectively.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that Hong Kong patients are receptive to the concept of parallel clinics, and illustrated that conjoint analysis is a rigorous survey technique for eliciting the views of patients on health care services in the ED setting.