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Preferences for portable ultrasound devices: a discrete choice experiment among abdominal aortic aneurysm surveillance patients and general ultrasound patients in England
  1. Caron Parsons1,2,
  2. Kamran Ahmad Khan1,
  3. Joshua Pink3,
  4. Alice Verran1,
  5. Frances Griffiths1,
  6. Charles E Hutchinson1,2,
  7. Stavros Petrou1
  1. 1 Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  2. 2 Department of Radiology, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry, UK
  3. 3 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Caron Parsons; c.s.parsons{at}


Objective To undertake an assessment of preferences as to how, where and by whom ultrasounds (US) should be performed in: (1) patients undergoing surveillance of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) size (AAA group); and (2) patients being scanned for general abdominal conditions (general group).

Design A discrete choice experiment (DCE) questionnaire was administered to patients attending US appointments. Analysis of questionnaire responses used conditional logit models and included validity checks.

Setting West Midlands, England.

Participants 524 patients (223 in the AAA group and 301 in the general group) were recruited from the US outpatient department at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

Outcome measures Coefficients for attributes in relation to their reference levels.

Results The AAA group preferred to have their US performed in hospital while the general group had a preference for portable US at general practice surgeries. All patients had a strong preference for scanning by specialists, devices with a lower risk of underdiagnosis and receiving their results at the appointment where the scan takes place. The general group had a strong preference for the person performing the scan to know their medical history.

Conclusions Patients being scanned for general abdominal conditions prefer to be scanned in a general practice by practitioners who know their medical history. Patients undergoing surveillance of AAA size prefer to be scanned in a hospital setting. Both groups would prefer to be informed of the scan results as soon as possible. Further research is required to explore the clinical scenarios in which targeted scanning by community practitioners would be of benefit to patients.

  • health economics
  • qualitative research
  • diagnostic radiology
  • ultrasound

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  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Contributors JP undertook the DCE design and analysis. KAK carried out the DCE analyses. SP supervised the DCE design and analysis. FG supervised the qualitative research. AV carried out the qualitative research. CEH and CP provided clinical input into the development of the DCE materials. CP supervised recruitment into the study. KAK, JP, SP, CEH, CP, FG and AV wrote the first draft of the article. CP, JP and SP wrote the second draft of the article. All authors contributed to and agreed the final version of the manuscript. All authors had full access to all of the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

  • Funding The initial study was funded by NHS England Regional Innovation Fund (28560) and GE Healthcare. The VScan devices were on short-term loan from GE Healthcare.

  • Competing interests GE Healthcare was not involved in the planning of the discrete choice experiments.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by NRES committee West Midlands, Edgbaston (13/WM/0022).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Individual-level data from the study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.