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Consumers' Willingness to Pay for eHealth and Its Influencing Factors: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


Consumers' Willingness to Pay for eHealth and Its Influencing Factors: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

J Med Internet Res. 2022 Sep 14;24(9):e25959. doi: 10.2196/25959.


BACKGROUND: Despite the great potential of eHealth, substantial costs are involved in its implementation, and it is essential to know whether these costs can be justified by its benefits. Such needs have led to an increased interest in measuring the benefits of eHealth, especially using the willingness to pay (WTP) metric as an accurate proxy for consumers' perceived benefits of eHealth. This offered us an opportunity to systematically review and synthesize evidence from the literature to better understand WTP for eHealth and its influencing factors.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide a systematic review of WTP for eHealth and its influencing factors.

METHODS: This study was performed and reported as per the Cochrane Collaboration and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. PubMed, CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Library, EconLit, and PsycINFO databases were searched from their inception to April 19, 2022. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses to calculate WTP values for eHealth (at 2021 US dollar rates) and meta-regression analyses to examine the factors affecting WTP.

RESULTS: A total of 30 articles representing 35 studies were included in the review. We found that WTP for eHealth varied across studies; when expressed as a 1-time payment, it ranged from US $0.88 to US $191.84, and when expressed as a monthly payment, it ranged from US $5.25 to US $45.64. Meta-regression analyses showed that WTP for eHealth was negatively associated with the percentages of women (β=-.76; P<.001) and positively associated with the percentages of college-educated respondents (β=.63; P<.001) and a country's gross domestic product per capita (multiples of US $1000; β=.03; P<.001). Compared with eHealth provided through websites, people reported a lower WTP for eHealth provided through asynchronous communication (β=-1.43; P<.001) and a higher WTP for eHealth provided through medical devices (β=.66; P<.001), health apps (β=.25; P=.01), and synchronous communication (β=.58; P<.001). As for the methods used to measure WTP, single-bounded dichotomous choice (β=2.13; P<.001), double-bounded dichotomous choice (β=2.20; P<.001), and payment scale (β=1.11; P<.001) were shown to obtain higher WTP values than the open-ended format. Compared with ex ante evaluations, ex post evaluations were shown to obtain lower WTP values (β=-.37; P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: WTP for eHealth varied significantly depending on the study population, modality used to provide eHealth, and methods used to measure it. WTP for eHealth was lower among certain population segments, suggesting that these segments may be at a disadvantage in terms of accessing and benefiting from eHealth. We also identified the modalities of eHealth that were highly valued by consumers and offered suggestions for the design of eHealth interventions. In addition, we found that different methods of measuring WTP led to significantly different WTP estimates, highlighting the need to undertake further methodological explorations of approaches to elicit WTP values.

PMID:36103227 | DOI:10.2196/25959

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