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Decision Support Systems for Choosing a Primary Health Care Provider in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Agneta Ranerup
Lars Norén
Carina Sparud Lundin
Published in Patient Education and Counseling
Volume 86
Issue 3
Pages 342–347
ISSN 0738-3991
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Centre for Consumer Science
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 342–347
Language en
Keywords patient choice; decision support; Primary Care; Internet
Subject categories Media and Communication Technology, Nursing, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified


Objective: To evaluate how patients are supported with information and other forms of Web-based decision support for making an informed choice of a primary health care provider. Methods: The article is based on a comparative case study of recently developed tools provided by Web portals in Sweden (one national, three regional). The theoretical framework for analysis is the general calculation model, including the steps of isolating, examining, and ranking available options. Results: The provision of information and other forms of support is reasonable when it comes to isolating a particular alternative or presenting a general view of alternatives. As for examining and ranking, one regional system and one national system offer support based on information from patient surveys and waiting times, and one regional system offers support based on provider competencies. Conclusion: One design alternative is to represent the opinions of patients about care centers, another is to represent the characteristics of care centers, and a third is to combine the two. The general calculation model is relevant as a framework for analysis from a practical as well as a theoretical viewpoint. Practical implications: The study provides practical examples of decision support for patient choice in primary health care.

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