Background: Currently, there is little evidence relating to which attributes of pediatric daycase surgery are most important to parents; therefore, it is difficult for policy-makers in the UK to incorporate parents' preferences into pediatric daycase service provision. Additionally, few studies have considered anesthesiologists' preferences in this area. Parents and anesthesiologists' preferences for perioperative care of children undergoing daycase surgery may differ and this could affect levels of satisfaction with service provision. This study aimed to elicit and compare the relative importance of attributes of pediatric daycase surgery provision to parents and anesthesiologists using an established stated preference method, the discrete choice experiment. The attributes considered were: parental involvement in medical decision making; parental presence at induction of anaesthesia; quality of recovery from anaesthesia; staff attitude; postoperative pain and cost to the parents.
Methods: A postal questionnaire including a discrete choice experiment was sent to (a) parents whose children had been admitted to hospital under a surgical consultant (n = 280) and (b) anesthesiologists who are resident in the UK and are members of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists (n = 193).
Results: All six attributes studied were statistically significant to both respondent groups, indicating that all attributes were important to respondents. The strength of anesthesiologists and parents' preferences was significantly different for all attributes other than parental presence at induction of anaesthesia.
Conclusions: Parents and anesthesiologists had a significantly different order of priorities for service attributes.