The impact of Economics on health policy and management in Spain
Background Despite the intrinsic value of scientific disciplines, such as Economics, it is appropriate to gauge the impact of its applications on social welfare, or at least –Health Economics’ (HE) case- its influence on health policy and management. Methods The three relevant features of knowledge (production, diffusion and application) are analyzed, more from an ‘emic’ perspective –the one used in Anthropology relying on the experience of the members of a culture- than from an ‘etic’ approach seated on material descriptions and dubious statistics. Results The soundness of the principles and results of HE depends on its disciplinary foundations, whereas its relevance –than does not imply translation into practice- is more linked with the problems studied. Important contributions from Economics to the health sphere are recorded. HE in Spain ranks seventh in the world despite the relatively minor HE contents of its clinical and health services research journals. HE has in Spain more presence than influence, having failed to impregnate sufficiently the daily events. Conclusions HE knowledge required by a politician, a health manager or a clinician is rather limited; the main impact of HE could be to develop their intuition and awareness.
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