BACKGROUND: The colposcopy service is a key component in the UK Cervical Screening Programme. Over 120,000 women are referred to the service annually, however up to 25% of women fail to attend their appointment. Little is known about patients' preferences for colposcopic investigation and treatment. This study aims to investigate women's experience of colposcopy, to identify patients' preferences for aspects of appointments within the colposcopy service, and to make suggestions for service improvement. METHODS/DESIGN: This study has been designed as a two stage, mixed method project. Stage one will involve in-depth interviews with new colposcopy patients to ascertain their experience of colposcopy services. This qualitative stage will generate factors thought to be important by service users in their experience. Stage two will utilise a choice based quantitative technique to identify women's preferences and determine the representativeness of factors generated through the interviews. The initial stage of in-depth interviews will be conducted with patients who are newly referred to colposcopy clinics to investigate the experience that they have of the referral process and appointment attendance. The outcome of these interviews will be analysed qualitatively using Framework analysis. Factors found to be important in women's experience will be extracted and used to construct a choice based questionnaire. The discrete choice experiment (questionnaire) will apply a best-worst technique through scenario-based questions to find women's relative preferences for different aspects of the service. It will be offered to women attending follow-up appointments at two colposcopy clinics in the West Midlands. Women will complete the questionnaire whilst they wait for their appointment, or, if they prefer, will take it home to complete in private. Women who do not attend their appointment will be posted the research information and questionnaire. The questionnaire analysis will use a weighted least squares regression technique for each best/worst pair. The accept/reject 'would you attend this appointment' question will be analysed using a random effects logit model. DISCUSSION: Colposcopy is a common procedure and one that is associated with raised anxiety among women experiencing the service. Little is known about women's experience of the service or their preferences for service delivery. The outcomes of the study will comprise a description of women's experience of colposcopy and establishing their preferences for how aspects of the service should be provided. Women's preferences will be fed back to service providers to enable improvements to the service to be made.



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Peninsula Medical School


Anxiety, Chi-Square Distribution, Colposcopy, Counseling, Decision Making, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Patient Education as Topic, Patient Satisfaction, Professional-Patient Relations, United Kingdom, "Women's Health"]