Evaluating Patient Preferences For Thermal Ablation Versus Non-Thermal, Non-Tumescent Varicose Vein Treatments

Abstract [from journal]

Objective: To measure patient preferences for attributes associated with thermal ablation and non-thermal, non-tumescent varicose vein treatments.

Methods: Data were collected from an electronic patient-preference survey taken by 70 adult participants (aged 20 years or older) at 3 Center for Vein Restoration clinics in New Jersey from July 19, 2019, through August 13, 2019. Survey participation was voluntary and anonymous (participation rate of 80.5% [70/87]). Patients were shown 10 consecutive screens that displayed 3 hypothetical treatment scenarios with different combinations of 6 attributes of interest and a "None" option. Choice-based conjoint analysis estimated the relative importance of different aspects of care, trade-offs between these aspects, and total satisfaction that respondents derived from different healthcare procedures. Market simulation analysis compared clusters of attributes mimicking thermal ablation and non-thermal, non-tumescent treatments.

Results: Of the 6 attributes studied, out-of-pocket expenditures were the most important to patients (37.2%), followed by postoperative discomfort (17.1%), risk of adverse events (16.3%), time to return to normal activity (11.0%), number of injections (10.0%), and number of visits (8.4%). Patients were willing to pay the most to avoid postoperative discomfort ($68.9) and risk of adverse events ($65.8). The market simulation analysis found that, regardless of the level of out-of-pocket spending, 60%-80% of respondents favored attribute combinations corresponding to non-thermal, non-tumescent procedures over thermal ablation, and that less than 1% of participants would forgo either treatment under no cost-sharing.

Conclusions: Patients are highly sensitive to out-of-pocket costs for minimally-invasive varicose vein treatments. Market simulation analysis favored non-thermal, non-tumescent procedures over thermal ablation.