"Is 28% good or bad?": Evaluability and preferences reversals in health care decisions.

Choices of health care providers can become inconsistentwhen people lack sufficient context to assess the value ofavailable information. In a series of surveys, general populationsamples were randomized to read descriptions of either 2possible health care providers or a single provider. Some informationabout providers was easy to consider (e.g., traveltime), but some was difficult to interpret without additionalcontext (e.g., success rates). Ratings of the described healthcare providers varied significantly by whether options wereevaluated independently or concurrently. For example, onefertility clinic (33% success rate, 15 min away) was ratedhigher than a 2nd (40% success rate, 45 min away) wheneach clinic was considered separately (7.1 v. 6.2, P = 0.046),but preferences reversed in joint evaluation (5.9 v. 6.7, P =0.051). The results suggest that clinicians and developers ofpatient information materials alike should consider informationevaluability when deciding how to present health careoptions to patients.

Citation (view)