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Allocation decisions and patient preferences in emergency medicine
  1. Glenn Arendts1,2,3,
  2. Kirsten Howard1,
  3. John M Rose4
  1. 1Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Australia
  3. 3School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  4. 4Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Glenn Arendts, CCREM, Level 5 MRF Building, Rear 50 Murray Street, Perth WA 6000, Australia; glenn.arendts{at}


Allocation decisions in emergency medicine must occur when demand for emergency services exceeds supply. In many circumstances, strong clinical or cost evidence upon which to base allocation decisions is lacking. In these circumstances, patient or community preference may be used to inform decisions. If preference is to be incorporated into allocation decision-making, scientifically rigorous quantitative methods should be chosen for measuring preference. This article describes the theoretical background, advantages, risks and applications of discrete choice experiments for measuring patient preference in emergency medicine.

  • Choice behaviour
  • cost effectiveness
  • emergency care systems
  • emergency medicine
  • patient preference
  • resource allocation

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  • Competing interests None to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.