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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Iestyn Williams

The purpose of this paper is to take forward consideration of context in health care priority setting and to offer some practical strategies for priority setters to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to take forward consideration of context in health care priority setting and to offer some practical strategies for priority setters to increase receptiveness to their work.

Design/methodology/approach

A number of tools and methods have been devised with the aim of making health care priority setting more robust and evidence based. However, in order to routinely take and implement priority setting decisions, decision makers require the support, or at least the acquiescence, of key external parties. In other words, the priority setting process requires a receptive context if it is to proceed unhindered.

Findings

The priority setting process requires a receptive context if it is to proceed unhindered.

Originality/value

This paper develops the concept of legitimacy in the “authorising environment” in priority setting and describes strategies which might help decision makers to create a receptive context, and to manage relationships with external stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Book part
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Craig Mitton, François Dionne and Diane Schmidt

The purpose of this chapter is to describe a method for priority setting that can be used to identify options for disinvestment, and is also meant to serve as a tool for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to describe a method for priority setting that can be used to identify options for disinvestment, and is also meant to serve as a tool for re-allocation of resources to achieve better outcomes with a given pot of resources.

Approach

This chapter draws on findings from the application of a priority setting and resource allocation framework known as Program Budgeting and Marginal Analysis (PBMA). Case studies are used to illustrate key points around implementation including factors for success and guidelines for improving priority setting in practice.

Findings

PBMA has been applied in over 150 settings over the last 30 years. Purposes varied from focusing strictly on disinvestment to examining opportunities for re-allocation. Many organizations report continued use of the framework and decision makers typically express a desire to not revert to historical allocation or political negotiation in deciding on the funding for programs.

Practical implications

Practical implications of this body of work on priority setting abound in that there are significant opportunities to improve resource allocation practice including better engagement of staff, clinicians and public members, greater use of evidence in decision making and improving process transparency.

Social implications

As healthcare resources are limited, particularly in predominantly publicly funded health systems, prudent use of resources is critical. Actually applying the appropriate tools to ensure that funding aligns with organizational and system objectives is paramount.

Originality/value

Although there is a large body of literature on priority setting particularly in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada, this chapter serves to highlight key messages specifically in the context of fiscal constraint and in relation to the concept of disinvestment or service reduction.

Details

Reconfiguring the Ecosystem for Sustainable Healthcare
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-035-3

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Sarah Clark and Albert Weale

It is commonly recognized that the setting of health priorities requires value judgements and that these judgements are social. Justifying social value judgements is an…

Abstract

Purpose

It is commonly recognized that the setting of health priorities requires value judgements and that these judgements are social. Justifying social value judgements is an important element in any public justification of how priorities are set. The purpose of this paper is to review a number of social values relating both to the process and content of prioritysetting decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of key process and content values basic to health priority setting is outlined, and normative analysis applied to those values to identify their key features, possible interpretations in different cultural and institutional contexts, and interactions with other values.

Findings

Process values are found to be closely linked, such that success in increasing, for example, transparency may depend on increasing participation or accountability, and “content” values are found often to be hidden in technical criteria. There is a complex interplay between value and technical components of priority setting, and between process and content values. Levels of economic development, culture and need will all play a part in determining how different systems balance the values in their decisions.

Originality/value

Technical analyses of health priority setting are commonplace, but approaching the issues from the perspective of social values is a more recent approach and one which this paper seeks to refine and develop.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2018

William Hall, Iestyn Williams, Neale Smith, Marthe Gold, Joanna Coast, Lydia Kapiriri, M. Danis and Craig Mitton

Current conditions have intensified the need for health systems to engage in the difficult task of priority setting. As the search for a “magic bullet” is replaced by an…

Abstract

Purpose

Current conditions have intensified the need for health systems to engage in the difficult task of priority setting. As the search for a “magic bullet” is replaced by an appreciation for the interplay between evidence, interests, culture, and outcomes, progress in relation to these dimensions requires assessment of achievements to date and identification of areas where knowledge and practice require attention most urgently. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

An international survey was administered to experts in the area of priority setting. The survey consisted of open-ended questions focusing on notable achievements, policy and practice challenges, and areas for future research in the discipline of priority setting. It was administered online between February and March of 2015.

Findings

“Decision-making frameworks” and “Engagement” were the two most frequently mentioned notable achievements. “Priority setting in practice” and “Awareness and education” were the two most frequently mentioned policy and practical challenges. “Priority setting in practice” and “Engagement” were the two most frequently mentioned areas in need of future research.

Research limitations/implications

Sampling bias toward more developed countries. Future study could use findings to create a more concise version to distribute more broadly.

Practical implications

Globally, these findings could be used as a platform for discussion and decision making related to policy, practice, and research in this area.

Originality/value

Whilst this study reaffirmed the continued importance of many longstanding themes in the priority setting literature, it is possible to also discern clear shifts in emphasis as the discipline progresses in response to new challenges.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Evelyn Cornelissen, Craig Mitton, Alan Davidson, Colin Reid, Rachelle Hole, Anne-Marie Visockas and Neale Smith

Program budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA) is a priority setting approach that assists decision makers with allocating resources. Previous PBMA work establishes its…

Abstract

Purpose

Program budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA) is a priority setting approach that assists decision makers with allocating resources. Previous PBMA work establishes its efficacy and indicates that contextual factors complicate priority setting, which can hamper PBMA effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to gain qualitative insight into PBMA effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

A Canadian case study of PBMA implementation. Data consist of decision-maker interviews pre (n=20), post year-1 (n=12) and post year-2 (n=9) of PBMA to examine perceptions of baseline priority setting practice vis-à-vis desired practice, and perceptions of PBMA usability and acceptability.

Findings

Fit emerged as a key theme in determining PBMA effectiveness. Fit herein refers to being of suitable quality and form to meet the intended purposes and needs of the end-users, and includes desirability, acceptability, and usability dimensions. Results confirm decision-maker desire for rational approaches like PBMA. However, most participants indicated that the timing of the exercise and the form in which PBMA was applied were not well-suited for this case study. Participant acceptance of and buy-in to PBMA changed during the study: a leadership change, limited organizational commitment, and concerns with organizational capacity were key barriers to PBMA adoption and thereby effectiveness.

Practical implications

These findings suggest that a potential way-forward includes adding a contextual readiness/capacity assessment stage to PBMA, recognizing organizational complexity, and considering incremental adoption of PBMA’s approach.

Originality/value

These insights help us to better understand and work with priority setting conditions to advance evidence-informed decision making.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

Peter Garpenby and Karin Bäckman

From the late 1980s and onwards health care in Sweden has come under increasing financial pressure, forcing policy makers to consider restrictions. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

From the late 1980s and onwards health care in Sweden has come under increasing financial pressure, forcing policy makers to consider restrictions. The purpose of this paper is to review experiences and to establish lessons of formal priority setting in four Swedish regional health authorities during the period 2003-2012.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on a variety of sources, and evidence is organised according to three broad aspects: design and implementation of models and processes, application of evidence and decision analysis tools and decision making and implementation of decisions.

Findings

The processes accounted for here have resulted in useful experiences concerning technical arrangements as well as political and public strategies. All four sites used a particular model for priority setting that combined top-down- and bottom-up-driven elements. Although the process was authorised from the top it was clearly bottom-up driven and the template followed a professional rationale. New meeting grounds were introduced between politicians and clinical leaders. Overall a limited group of stakeholders were involved. By defusing political conflicts the likelihood that clinical leaders would regard this undertaking as important increased.

Originality/value

One tendency today is to unburden regional authorities of the hard decisions by introducing arrangements at national level. This study suggests that regional health authorities, in spite of being politically governed organisations, have the potential to execute a formal priority-setting process. Still, to make priority-setting processes more robust to internal as well as external threat remains a challenge.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2011

Iestyn Williams, Helen Dickinson and Suzanne Robinson

Joint commissioning is an important part of the current health and social care context and will continue to be crucial in the future. An essential component of any…

Abstract

Joint commissioning is an important part of the current health and social care context and will continue to be crucial in the future. An essential component of any commissioning process is priority setting, and this paper begins to explore the idea of integrated priority setting as a key element of health and social care commissioning. After setting out the key terminology in this area and the main prioritysetting processes for health and social care, the paper describes a number of barriers that might be encountered in integrated priority setting. We argue that there are significant barriers in financing, accessibility, evidence and politics, and it is important that such barriers are acknowledged if priority setting is to become a component of joint commissioning. While these barriers are not insurmountable, the solution lies in engagement with a range of stakeholders, rather than simply a technical process.

Details

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1476-9018

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Neale Smith, Craig Mitton, Evelyn Cornelissen, Jennifer Gibson and Stuart Peacock

Public sector interest in methods for priority setting and program or policy evaluation has grown considerably over the last several decades, given increased expectations…

Abstract

Purpose

Public sector interest in methods for priority setting and program or policy evaluation has grown considerably over the last several decades, given increased expectations for accountable and efficient use of resources and emphasis on evidence‐based decision making as a component of good management practice. While there has been some occasional effort to conduct evaluation of priority setting projects, the literatures around priority setting and evaluation have largely evolved separately. In this paper, the aim is to bring them together.

Design/methodology/approach

The contention is that evaluation theory is a means by which evaluators reflect upon what it is they are doing when they do evaluation work. Theories help to organize thinking, sort out relevant from irrelevant information, provide transparent grounds for particular implementation choices, and can help resolve problematic issues which may arise in the conduct of an evaluation project.

Findings

A detailed review of three major branches of evaluation theory – methods, utilization, and valuing – identifies how such theories can guide the development of efforts to evaluate priority setting and resource allocation initiatives. Evaluation theories differ in terms of their guiding question, anticipated setting or context, evaluation foci, perspective from which benefits are calculated, and typical methods endorsed.

Originality/value

Choosing a particular theoretical approach will structure the way in which any priority setting process is evaluated. The paper suggests that explicitly considering evaluation theory makes key aspects of the evaluation process more visible to all stakeholders, and can assist in the design of effective evaluation of priority setting processes; this should iteratively serve to improve the understanding of priority setting practices themselves.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2016

David James Hunter, Katharina Kieslich, Peter Littlejohns, Sophie Staniszewska, Emma Tumilty, Albert Weale and Iestyn Williams

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the findings of this special issue and discusses the future challenges for policy, research and society. The findings suggest…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the findings of this special issue and discusses the future challenges for policy, research and society. The findings suggest that challenges emerge as a result of legitimacy deficits of both consensus and contestatory modes of public involvement in health priority setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the discussions and findings presented in this special issue. It seeks to bring the country experiences and case studies together to draw conclusions for policy, research and society.

Findings

At least two recurring themes emerge. An underlying theme is the importance, but also the challenge, of establishing legitimacy in health priority setting. The country experiences suggest that we understand very little about the conditions under which representative, or authentic, participation generates legitimacy and under which it will be regarded as insufficient. A second observation is that public participation takes a variety of forms that depend on the opportunity structures in a given national context. Given this variety the conceptualization of public participation needs to be expanded to account for the many forms of public participation.

Originality/value

The paper concludes that the challenges of public involvement are closely linked to the question of how legitimate processes and decisions can be generated in priority setting. This suggests that future research must focus more narrowly on conditions under which legitimacy are generated in order to expand the understanding of public involvement in health prioritization.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Laura Biron, Benedict Rumbold and Ruth Faden

The purpose of this paper is to consider some of the philosophical and bioethical issues raised by the creation of the draft social values framework developed to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider some of the philosophical and bioethical issues raised by the creation of the draft social values framework developed to facilitate data collection and country‐specific presentations at the inaugural workshop on “Social values and health priority setting” held in February 2011.

Design/methodology/approach

Conceptual analysis is used to analyse the term “social values”, as employed in the framework, and its relationship to related ideas such as moral values. The structure of the framework (process and content values) is considered in light of current debate in philosophy and bioethics about the political and moral aims served by these kinds of values, and the extent to which they are either suited to, or sufficient for, the policy context.

Findings

There is much to be gained by engaging with the arguments presented in the philosophical literature in order to further refine the framework. The framework should remain neutral in respect of the importance of procedural values in different contexts and should be as inclusive as possible in respect of the principles it includes. Further development would be best served by taking a multidisciplinary approach. The framework could provide a valuable space in which future debates about procedural/substantive values can be considered.

Originality/value

The paper brings philosophical and bioethics perspectives to bear on a new framework proposed for the analysis of social values in health priority setting. It identifies how such a practical, policy‐focused framework might be informed by engagement with deeper, and often unresolved, questions or principle around resource allocation in health.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

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