About this Research Topic
Citizens’ roles in health care priority setting are especially critical in times of economic crisis, when health care reforms and health care spending cuts need to be implemented, and difficult decisions on the allocation of limited health care resources are required.
In the last decade, a number of research studies and large population surveys have explored citizens’ and patients’ preferences as well as their expectations from health care financing decisions, drawing on the need for meaningful citizen engagement in decision-making, in an effort to restore trust between citizens and the state, improve accountability and find the right balance between equity and efficiency in priority setting.
Recent evidence from countries that have applied reforms in the health sector during financial crisis have reported significant disagreement between citizen’s preferences and the way that policy makers allocate public health expenditure across the different types of care, as well as low level of citizen’s satisfaction regarding their ability to be heard and influence such decisions. Thus, the vast majority of citizens attach a negative meaning to healthcare reforms and often link them to a potential deterioration or limitation in the range and quality of offered services.
At the same time, while the incorporation of public views in health care decision making is becoming all the more important, the optimal approach of involving the public in such decisions remains unclear. Studies have shown that even though citizens express willingness to participate in health care resources planning, they do not want to make direct rationing decisions about critical issues, e.g. they experience disutility when called upon to decide about the potential denial of care to specific patient populations.
In light of the above, the objective of this Research Topic is to gather evidence on the degree of citizens’ participation in decision-making during health care reforms and to assess ways to optimize public involvement in priority setting.
Keywords: health policy, health reforms, health priorities, patient preferences, patient empowerment
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