Objectives: Differences in the process of using liver imaging technologies might be important to patients. This study aimed to investigate preferences for scanning modalities used in diagnosing focal liver lesions.
Methods: A discrete choice experiment was administered to 504 adults aged ≥25 years. Respondents made repeated choices between two hypothetical scans, described according to waiting time for scan and results, procedure type, the chance of minor side-effects, and whether further scanning procedures were likely to be required. Choice data were analyzed using mixed-logit models with respondent characteristics used to explain preference heterogeneity.
Results: Respondents preferred shorter waiting times, the procedure to be undertaken with a handheld scanner on a couch instead of within a body scanner, no side-effects, and no follow‑up scans (p ≤ .01). The average respondent was willing to wait an additional 2 weeks for the scan if it resulted in avoiding side-effects, 1.5 weeks to avoid further procedures or to be told the results immediately, and 1 week to have the scan performed on a couch with a handheld scanner. However, substantial heterogeneity was observed in the strength of preference for desirable imaging characteristics.
Conclusions: An average individual belonging to a general population sub‑group most likely to require imaging to characterize focal liver lesions in the United Kingdom would prefer contrast‑enhanced ultrasound over magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography. Insights into the patient perspective around differential characteristics of imaging modalities have the potential to be used to guide recommendations around the use of these technologies.