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Frank Wan-kin Chan, Alex Hoi Fan, Fiona Yan-yan Wong, Philip Tsze-ho Lam, Eng-kiong Yeoh, Carrie Ho-kwan Yam, Sian Griffiths, Dennis Shun-chiu Lam, Nathan Congdon; Waiting Time for Cataract Surgery and Its Influence on Patient Attitudes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(8):3636-3642. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3025.
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purpose. To characterize willingness to pay for private operations and preferred waiting time among patients awaiting cataract surgery in Hong Kong.
methods. This was a cross-sectional survey. Subjects randomly selected from cataract surgical waiting lists in Hong Kong (n = 467) underwent a telephone interview based on a structured, validated questionnaire. Data were collected on private insurance coverage, preferred waiting time, amount willing to pay for surgery, and self-reported visual function and health status.
results. Among 300 subjects completing the interview, 144 (48.2%) were 76 years of age or older, 177 (59%) were women, and mean time waiting for surgery was 17 ± 15 months. Among 220 subjects (73.3%) willing to pay anything for surgery, the mean amount was US$552 ± 443. With adjustment for age, education, and monthly household income, subjects willing to pay anything were less willing to wait 12 months for surgery (OR = 4.34; P = 0.002), more likely to know someone having had cataract surgery (OR = 2.20; P = 0.03), and more likely to use their own savings to pay for the surgery (OR = 2.21; P = 0.04). Subjects considering private cataract surgery, knowing people who have had cataract surgery, using nongovernment sources to pay for surgery, and having lower visual function were willing to pay more.
conclusions. Many patients wait significant periods for cataract surgery in Hong Kong, and are willing to pay substantial amounts for private operations. These results may have implications for other countries with cataract waiting lists.
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