Discrete Choice Experiment

Application of Discrete Choice Experiments to Identify Health Workers’ Employment Preferences

This presentation guided an interactive roundtable discussion at the CapacityPlus knowledge-sharing and dissemination event, Supporting Country-Led Efforts to Recruit and Retain Health Workers and Improve Their Productivity, held on February 18, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Net Costs of Health Worker Rural Incentive Packages: An Example from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Many developing countries are examining whether to institute incentive packages that increase the share of health workers who opt to locate in rural settings; however, uncertainty exists with respect to the expected net cost (or benefit) from these packages. CapacityPlus utilized findings from discrete choice experiment surveys applied to students training to be health professionals and costing analyses in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to model the anticipated effect of incentive packages on new worker location decisions and direct costs. In this example, incentive packages that do not invest in capital-intensive components generally should produce larger net benefits. Combining discrete choice experiment surveys, costing surveys, and cost-benefit analysis methods may be replicated by other developing countries to calculate whether health worker incentive packages are viable policy options.

Differences in Preferences for Rural Job Postings between Nursing Students and Practicing Nurses: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

A discrete choice experiment was conducted to investigate preferences for job characteristics among nursing students and practicing nurses to understand whether differing policies may be appropriate for each group. Data were collected from 256 nursing students and 249 practicing nurses. For both groups, choice of job posting was strongly influenced by salary and direct promotion to permanent staff. As compared to nursing students, practicing nurses had significantly lower preference for housing allowance and housing provision as well as lower preference for provision of transportation for work and personal use. Findings suggest that it may be important to differentiate between recruitment and retention policies when addressing human resources for health challenges in developing countries, such as Lao PDR.

User Guide with Case Studies: How to Conduct a Discrete Choice Experiment for Health Workforce Recruitment and Retention in Remote and Rural Areas

Understanding why health workers want or don’t want to take posts and remain in remote and rural areas is a prerequisite to formulating appropriate policy responses to the shortage of health workers in these areas. Building on the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on Increasing Access to Health Workers in Remote and Rural Areas through Improved Retention, this user guide proposes an innovative methodology, the discrete choice experiment (DCE), to measure the strength of health workers’ preferences and trade-offs related to different job characteristics that can influence their decision to take up rural postings. The user guide offers step-by-step advice on the application of DCE to identify policy interventions appropriate to a particular country context. The guide is the product of close collaboration among three agencies—the World Bank, the WHO, and USAID/CapacityPlus—and represents their shared commitment to supporting policy-relevant research on critical topics related to human resources for health.

Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit: Designing Evidence-Based Incentives for Health Workers

Rapid Retention Survey ToolkitThe Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit is designed to help countries determine what would motivate health workers to accept and remain in rural posts. It builds on the World Health Organization global policy recommendations for rural retention and is based on the discrete choice experiment (DCE), a powerful research method that identifies the trade-offs professionals are willing to make between specific job characteristics and determines their preferences for various incentive packages, including the probability of accepting a post in a rural facility. Employing a simplified version of the DCE methodology, the toolkit guides HR managers through the survey process to quickly assess health students’ and health workers’ motivational preferences to accept a position and continue working in underserved facilities. The results can be used to create evidence-based incentive packages that are appropriate within a country’s health labor market. Read more »

Preferences for Working in Rural Clinics among Trainee Health Professionals in Uganda: A Discrete Choice Experiment

In low-income countries, failure to attract and retain health workers in rural areas reduces population access to health services and undermines facility performance, resulting in poor health outcomes. This article in BMC Health Services Research presents findings from CapacityPlus’s study on preferences for job characteristics among final-year medical, nursing, pharmacy, and laboratory students at select universities in Uganda. The findings contribute to mounting evidence that salary is not the only important factor health workers consider when deciding where to work.

Toward Development of a Rural Retention Strategy in Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Understanding Health Worker Preferences

This technical report presents the results of a discrete choice experiment (DCE) conducted by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Ministry of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization and CapacityPlus, using CapacityPlus’s rural retention survey toolkit. The DCE surveyed health professional students and health workers practicing in rural provinces to investigate their motivational preferences for potential strategies to increase attraction and retention in the country’s rural and remote settings.

Motiver les prestataires de soins pour mieux desservir les populations rurales en République démocratique populaire du Laos

Les docteurs Chanthakhath Papassarang, Phouthone Vangkonevilay et Outavong Phathammavong expliquent comment évaluer les préférences des agents de santé afin de déterminer les mesures d’incitation les plus efficaces pour faciliter la prestation de services en milieu rural.

Motivating Health Workers to Serve in Rural Lao PDR

Dr. Chanthakhath Papassarang, Dr. Phouthone Vangkonevilay, and Dr. Outavong Phathammavong describe an effort to assess health workers’ preferences in order to determine the most effective incentives for rural service. Also available in French.

Retención del personal de salud: metodología rápida para desarrollar paquetes de incentivos basados en la evidencia

Spanish translation of an overview of the Rapid Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) Tool, intended to allow human resources managers to determine health workers’ motivational preferences.

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