Estimating preferences for medical devices: does the number of profile in choice experiments matter?

John P.F. Bridges, Catharina Gerarda Maria Groothuis-Oudshoorn, Christine Buttorff

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic

13 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Most applications of choice-based conjoint analysis in health use choice tasks with two profiles, while marketing studies routinely use three or more. This study reports on a randomized trial comparing paired with triplet profile choice formats focused on hearing aids.
Methods: Respondents with hearing loss were drawn from a nationally representative cohort, completed identical surveys, and were randomized to choice tasks with two or three profiles. The primary outcomes of differences in estimated preferences were explored using t-tests, likelihood ratio tests, and analyses of individual-level models estimated with ordinary least squares.
Results: 500 respondents were recruited. 127 had no hearing loss, 28 had profound loss and 22 declined to participate and were not analyzed. Of the remaining 323 participants, 146 individuals were randomized to the pairs and 177 to triplets. Pairs and triplets produced identical rankings of attribute importance but homogeneity was rejected (P<0.0001). Pairs led to more variation, and were systematically biased toward the null because a third (32.2%) of respondents focused on only one attribute. This is in contrast to respondents in the triplet design who traded across all attributes.
Discussion: The number of profiles in choice tasks affects the results of conjoint analysis studies. Here triplets are preferred to pairs as they avoid non-trading and allow for more accurate estimation of preferences models.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making, SMDM 2011: From Evidence to Decision Making: Role of Behavioral Economics in Medicine - Chicago, United States
Duration: 22 Oct 201126 Oct 2011
Conference number: 33


Conference33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making, SMDM 2011
Abbreviated titleSMDM
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • IR-78526

Cite this