Decisions about Pap tests: What influences women and providers?

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Journal Article
Social Science & Medicine, 2009, 68 (10), pp. 1766 - 1774
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Despite the success internationally of cervical screening programs debate continues about optimal program design. This includes increasing participation rates among under-screened women, reducing unnecessary early re-screening, improving accuracy of and confidence in screening tests, and determining the cost-effectiveness of program parameters, such as type of screening test, screening interval and target group. For all these issues, information about consumer and provider preferences and insight into the potential impact of any change to program design on consumer and provider behaviour are essential inputs into evidence-based health policy decision making. This paper reports the results of discrete choice experiments to investigate women's choices and providers' recommendations in relation to cervical screening in Australia. Separate experiments were conducted with women and general practitioners, with attributes selected to allow for investigation of how women and general practitioners differ in their preferences for attributes of screening programs. Our results indicate a considerable commonality in preferences but the alignment was not complete. Women put relatively more weight on cost, chance of a false positive and if the recommended screening interval were changed to one year.
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