Themes affecting health-care consumers' choice of a hospital for elective surgery when receiving web-based comparative consumer information

Albine Moser, Irene Korstjens, Trudy van der Weijden, Huibert Tange*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: To get insights into the decision-making strategy of health-care consumers when confronted with comparative consumer information. Methods: Qualitative descriptive study among 18 consumers who had a hip or knee replacement no longer than five years ago. To study their decision-making strategies a paper draft for a website was used providing comparative consumer information. Data were collected by cognitive interviews and focus-group meetings and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Consumers were able to understand the presented information, but had problems to use it as a decision aid. They primarily relied on previous experiences. Four themes were revealed: decision making, perceived benefits, unmet information needs, and trustworthiness. Consumers used different decision strategies and showed unpredictable behavior when choosing a hospital. Conclusion: Individual decision strategies, unsatisfied information needs, limited tenability and too coarse aggregation levels of quality scores are barriers for a proper use of comparative consumer information. Personal experience remains a valuable information source for hospital selection. We suggest that a website presenting comparative consumer information should be flexible in various ways and should include functionality to share personal experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-371
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Consumer choice
  • Consumer information
  • Consumer-Quality-Index
  • Decision making
  • Qualitative research

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