How have systematic priority setting approaches influenced policy making? A synthesis of the current literature
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BACKGROUND: There is a growing body of literature on systematic approaches to healthcare priority setting from various countries and different levels of decision making. This paper synthesizes the current literature in order to assess the extent to which program budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA), burden of disease & cost-effectiveness analysis (BOD/CEA), multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), and accountability for reasonableness (A4R), are reported to have been institutionalized and influenced policy making and practice. METHODS: We searched for English language publications on health care priority setting approaches (2000-2017). Our sources of literature included PubMed and Ovid databases (including Embase, Global Health, Medline, PsycINFO, EconLit). FINDINGS: Of the four approaches PBMA and A4R were commonly applied in high income countries while BOD/CEA was exclusively applied in low income countries. PBMA and BOD/CEA were most commonly reported to have influenced policy making. The explanations for limited adoption of an approach were related to its complexity, poor policy maker understanding and resource requirements. CONCLUSIONS: While systematic approaches have the potential to improve healthcare priority setting; most have not been adopted in routine policy making. The identified barriers call for sustained knowledge exchange between researchers and policy-makers and development of practical guidelines to ensure that these frameworks are more accessible, applicable and sustainable in informing policy making.
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