It takes a giraffe to see the big picture - Citizens' view on decision makers in health care rationing
2015 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 128, 301-308 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Previous studies show that citizens usually prefer physicians as decision makers for rationing in health care, while politicians are downgraded. The findings are far from clear-cut due to methodological differences, and as the results are context sensitive they cannot easily be transferred between countries. Drawing on methodological experiences from previous research, this paper aims to identify and describe different ways Swedish citizens understand and experience decision makers for rationing in health care, exclusively on the programme level. We intend to address several challenges that arise when studying citizens' views on rationing by (a) using a method that allows for reflection, (b) using the respondents' nomination of decision makers, and (c) clearly identifying the rationing level. We used phenomenography, a qualitative method for studying variations and changes in perceiving phenomena. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 14 Swedish citizens selected by standard criteria (e.g. age) and by their attitude towards rationing. The main finding was that respondents viewed politicians as more legitimate decision makers in contrast to the results in most other studies. Interestingly, physicians, politicians, and citizens were all associated with some kind of risk related to self-interest in relation to rationing. A collaborative solution for decision making was preferred where the views of different actors were considered important. The fact that politicians were seen as appropriate decision makers could be explained by several factors: the respondents' new insights about necessary trade-offs at the programme level, awareness of the importance of an overview of different health care needs, awareness about self-interest among different categories of decision-makers, including physicians, and the national context of long-term political accountability for health care in Sweden. This study points to the importance of being aware of contextual and methodological issues in relation to research on how citizens experience arrangements for rationing in health care.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 128, 301-308 p.
Sweden Health care Rationing Programme level Decision maker Citizens' view Interview Phenomenography
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115129DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.01.043ISI: 000351323500037PubMedID: 25638017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-115129DiVA: diva2:793878
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution made by the participants in this study. This study was supported by the Swedish Federation of County Councils Research Program on Change Processes in Health Care and the Swedish National Centre for Priority Setting in Health Care.2015-03-092015-03-092015-05-28