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Public, medical professionals and patients preferences for the allocation of donor organs for transplantation: study protocol for discrete choice experiments

18 Oct 2018


Organ transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with severe organ failure. Nevertheless, donor organs are a scarce resource resulting in a large mismatch between supply and demand. Therefore, priority-setting leads to the dilemma of how these scarce organs should be allocated and who should be considered eligible to receive a suitable organ. In order to improve the supply–demand mismatch in transplantation medicine, this study explores preferences of different stakeholders (general public, medical professionals and patients) for the allocation of donor organs for transplantation in Germany. The aims are (1) to determine criteria and preferences, which are relevant for the allocation of scarce donor organs and (2) to compare the results between the three target groups to derive strategies for health policy.

Methods and analysis

We outline the study protocol for discrete choice experiments, where respondents are presented with different choices including attributes with varied attribute levels. They were asked to choose between these choice sets. First, systematic reviews will be conducted to identify the state of art. Subsequently, focus group discussions with the public and patients as well as expert interviews with medical professionals will follow to establish the attributes that are going to be included in the experiments and to verify the results of the systematic reviews. Using this qualitative exploratory work, discrete choice studies will be designed to quantitatively assess preferences. We will use a D-efficient fractional factorial design to survey a total sample of 600 respondents according to the public, medical professionals and patients each. Multinomial conditional logit model and latent class model will be analysed to estimate the final results.

Ethics and dissemination

This study has received Ethics Approval from the Hannover Medical School Human Ethics Committee (Vote number: 7921_BO_K_2018). Findings will be disseminated through conference presentations, workshops with stakeholders and peer-reviewed journal articles.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open