Background: Ascertaining the acceptability of healthcare provision to service users is an important factor in promoting service uptake, especially for populations who are reluctant to access care. This study identified the attributes of a Hepatitis C (HCV) testing service for people prescribed Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) and used their expressed preferences to guide design of a service, using an applied health economics approach.
Materials and methods: Preferences of OST users were elicited using a discrete choice experiment. Important attributes for HCV testing were partly pre-determined by the research question and also identified using literature review and focus groups. Predetermined attributes included choice of provider and financial incentives. Other important attributes were place of testing; travel distance; attitudes and staff undertaking testing; waiting time for test results and incentive payment. The relative importance of defined attributes was assessed in 103 OST users attending 6 pharmacies from Dundee.
Results: OST users preferred testing at their "own pharmacy", by their drug worker, followed by their general practitioner (GP). Use of another pharmacy was the least preferred option. Being treated with dignity and respect was valued most highly, with waiting time for test results and travel distance also important. Financial incentives were not considered important.
Conclusions: This study provides evidence that OST users prefer testing at their own pharmacy. The addition of a pharmacy to the providers offering HCV testing may increase uptake and support policies to eliminate HCV from our communities. Being treated with dignity and respect was highly valued and this suggests that testing uptake can be increased by developing positive relationships between OST users and test providers. Financial incentives were not found to be important.
- Clinical pathways
- Community pharmacy
- Discrete choice experiment
- Hepatitis C