Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Objective: Examine how information from social networks is associated with patient decisions in the presence of information from multiple professional sources including decision aids.

Methods: We conducted a stated-choice experiment in which respondents made recommendations for hypothetical patients about whether full knee-replacement surgery should be performed to treat knee osteoarthritis. In addition, we administered a background questionnaire in which we explicitly asked respondents about the experience of people in their social network with knee osteoarthritis and possible treatment options. We examined the manner in which respondents’ recommendations for vignette persons were associated with the experiences of members of their own social networks.

Results: Controlling for the information obtained from professional sources, satisfaction with full knee-replacement surgery within the respondents’ social networks was strongly associated with respondent decisions.

Conclusion: Information from the social network may complement or compete with information from professional sources as patients make decisions.

Practice Implications: Professionals should offer to assist patients in making sound use information they obtain from their social networks.



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