This research project aims to facilitate identification and application of optimal methods for engaging the public in healthcare decision-making, provide guidance on the appropriate population groups to consider when eliciting consumer preferences, and provide direct public input to guide health policy.  The project will provide a structured and systematic framework for engaging citizens in healthcare priority setting while providing direct recommendations for priority setting from the deliberations of the juries on the critical issues under consideration.


The objectives are to:

  1. Determine citizen and health professional/decision-maker preferences for government expenditure and delivery of: 1) emergency care services and 2) surgical management of obesity; using Discrete Choice Experiments ( DCEs) and Citizens' Juries (CJs).

  2. Assess the stability and effect of "jury" deliberations on preferences for healthcare.

  3. Assess the test-retest reliability of preferences elicited from DCE's.

  4. Identify and evaluate the discursive processes that characterize CJs.

  5. Identify the convergence among preferences of jurors after deliberations, the non-jury public and health decision-makers.


Citizens' Juries (CJ)

In a CJ, a sample of the public (the 'jurors') is presented with a dilemma about which expert 'witnesses' present evidence and are cross-examined by the jurors. CJs, as with legal juries, are based on the notion that once a small sample of the population has heard the evidence, its subsequent deliberations can fairly represent the conscience and intelligence of the general public. CJs are used widely both in Australia and overseas to elicit consumer views for policy making however, to date, the processes and mechanisms have not been explored in depth. While CJs have been used to engage the public in a range of areas, analysis of the deliberations has been qualitative. However, the ability to quantify the strength of preferences and the trade-offs participants are willing to make between different alternatives would be invaluable for making decisions in policy development.


Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE)

DCEs involve the presentation of a series of choices between two or more alternative scenarios, each representing a unique combination of specified attributes and levels of the treatment or service under consideration. Statistical analysis of the individuals' choices identifies the relative importance of the attributes and the trade-offs individuals make when choosing one scenario over another, (i.e. how much of one attribute they are prepared to forgo to have more of another). DCEs have been widely conducted and reported upon for many years in the transport and environmental economics literature. Within health care there has been an exponential increase in the number of DCE studies undertaken in the last decade.


Emergency Care Services

Emergency department (ED) crowding is a global as well as national challenge. If unchecked, it can result in poor health outcomes. Strategies to address crowding can be found at all levels of the health system from pre-hospital to community care.
The key priority areas identified by the Statewide Emergency Department Network for 2012 (Qld Government) highlight the difficulties created by access blockage in emergency departments. This problem has been attributed to both increased demand for emergency department services and the need for system re-design or more efficient models of service delivery. Solutions to problems that result from the combination of both demand and supply factors must take into account a range of perspectives, including those of providers, regular health consumers and general citizens.


Surgical Management of Obesity

The increasing prevalence, health and economic burden associated with obesity are well established. A range of interventions are available to reduce obesity, some of which have good evidence supporting their effectiveness. However, public engagement in those strategies is crucial. The project is exploring and quantifying public preferences surrounding some of the controversial issues in the management of obesity and alternative interventions.


Read about our team

Read about our findings

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