Improving Patient Preference Elicitation by Applying Concepts From the Consumer Research Field: Narrative Literature Review

Interact J Med Res. 2020 Mar 31;9(1):e13684. doi: 10.2196/13684.


Background: Although preference research finds its origins in consumer research, preference elicitation methods have increasingly attracted attention in different decision-making contexts in health care. Simulating real-life decision making is believed to be important during consumer preference elicitation.

Objective: The aims of this study were to compare the process of decision making between patients and consumers and to identify methods from the consumer research field that could be applied in patient preference elicitation.

Methods: A narrative literature review was performed to identify preference elicitation concepts from a consumer context that could offer improvements in health care.

Results: The process of decision making between patients and consumers was highly comparable. The following five concepts from the consumer research field that could effectively simulate a real-life decision-making process for applications in health care were identified: simulating alternatives, self-reflection, feedback-driven exploration, separated (adaptive) dual response, and arranging profiles in blocks.

Conclusions: Owing to similarities in the decision-making process, patients could be considered as a subgroup of consumers, suggesting that preference elicitation concepts from the consumer field may be relevant in health care. Five concepts that help to simulate real-life decision making have the potential to improve patient preference elicitation. However, the extent to which real decision-making contexts can be mimicked in health care remains unknown.

Keywords: consumer research methods; decision making; preference elicitation methods.

Publication types

  • Review