Understanding uptake of digital health products: Methodology tutorial for a discrete choice experiment using the Bayesian efficient design

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Understanding the preferences of potential users of digital health products is beneficial for digital health policy and planning. Stated preference methods could help elicit individuals’ preferences in the absence of observational data. A discrete choice experiment (DCE) is a commonly used stated preference method—a quantitative methodology that argues that individuals make trade-offs when engaging in a decision by choosing an alternative of a product or a service that offers the greatest utility, or benefit. This methodology is widely used in health economics in situations in which revealed preferences are difficult to collect but is much less used in the field of digital health. This paper outlines the stages involved in developing a DCE. As a case study, it uses the application of a DCE to reveal preferences in targeting the uptake of smoking cessation apps. It describes the establishment of attributes, the construction of choice tasks of 2 or more alternatives, and the development of the experimental design. This tutorial offers a guide for researchers with no prior knowledge of this research technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32365
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • Bayesian
  • Design
  • Digital health
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Engagement
  • MHealth
  • Methodology
  • Preference
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative methodology
  • Stated preference methods
  • Tutorial
  • Uptake
  • User preference

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