ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The potential barriers and facilitators to change should guide the choice of implementation strategy. Implementation researchers believe that existing methods for the evaluation of potential barriers and facilitators are not satisfactory. Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are relatively new in the health care sector to investigate preferences, and may be of value in the field of implementation research. The objective of our study was to investigate the complementary value of DCE for the evaluation of barriers and facilitators in implementation research. METHODS: Clinical subject was the implementation of the guideline for breast cancer surgery in day care. We identified 17 potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of this guideline. We used a traditional questionnaire that was made up of statements about the potential barriers and facilitators. Respondents answered 17 statements on a five-point scale ranging from one (fully disagree) to five (fully agree). The potential barriers and facilitators were included in the DCE as decision attributes. Data were gathered among anaesthesiologists, surgical oncologists, and breast care nurses by means of a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. RESULTS: The overall response was 10%. The most striking finding was that the responses to the traditional questionnaire hardly differentiated between barriers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents thought that DCE is an inappropriate method. These respondents considered DCE too difficult and too time-consuming. Unlike the traditional questionnaire, the results of a DCE provide implementation researchers and clinicians with a relative attribute importance ranking that can be used to prioritize potential barriers and facilitators to change, and hence to better fine-tune the implementation strategies to the specific problems and challenges of a particular implementation process. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our DCE and traditional questionnaire would probably lead to different implementation strategies. Although there is no 'gold standard' for prioritising potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of change, theoretically, DCE would be the method of choice. However, the feasibility of using DCE was less favourable. Further empirical applications should investigate whether DCE can really make a valuable contribution to the implementation science.
van Helvoort-Postulart, D., van der Weijden, T., Dellaert, B. G. C., de Kok, M., von Meyenfeldt, M. F., & Dirksen, C. D. (2009). Investigating the complementary value of discrete choice experiments for the evaluation of barriers and facilitators in implementation research: a questionnaire survey. Implementation science, 4(1), 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-10