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Prioritizing health services research: an economic perspective


  • Afschin Gandjour

    () (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)


Abstract Introduction Given limited resources policymakers need to decide about how much and in what areas of health services research (HSR) to invest. The purpose of this study is to provide guidance for priority setting of HSR projects based on economic theory. Methods The conceptual analysis starts from the premise that competition in health care is valuable—a position that seems to predominate among Western policymakers. The principle of competition rests on economic theory and, in particular, its branch of welfare economics. Results Based on economic theory, the role of HSR is to detect and alleviate information asymmetry, negative externalities, and harm caused by competition and inappropriate incentives for competition. A hierarchy of HSR projects is provided; following the ethical principle of harm (‘do not harm’), the detection and prevention of harm would receive highest priority among HSR projects. Conclusions Agreeing that competition is valuable in achieving efficiency and quality of care (and therefore agreeing to the assumptions of economic theory) implies accepting the role of HSR in detecting market failure and the HSR hierarchy as suggested. Disagreement would require an alternative coherent concept of improving efficiency and quality of care.

Suggested Citation

  • Afschin Gandjour, 2016. "Prioritizing health services research: an economic perspective," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(4), pages 375-377, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:17:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0768-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-016-0768-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Afschin Gandjour, 2010. "A model to predict the cost-effectiveness of disease management programs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 697-715.
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