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Priority setting in the Austrian healthcare system: results from a discrete choice experiment and implications for mental health.

Mentzakis, E., Paolucci, F. and Rubicko, G. (2014) Priority setting in the Austrian healthcare system: results from a discrete choice experiment and implications for mental health. The journal of mental health policy and economics, 17 (2). pp. 61-73.

Link to Published Version: http://www.icmpe.org/test1/journal/issues/v17i2/v1...
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Abstract

Background
The impact of mental conditions is expected to be among the highest ranked causes of illness in high income countries by 2020. With changing health needs, policy makers have to make choices in an environment with increasingly constrained resources and competing demands. Discrete choice experiments have been identified as a useful approach to inform and support decision-making in health care systems and, in particular, its rationing.

Methods
Policymakers, researchers and health practitioners from Austria participated in an experiment designed to elicit preferences for efficiency and equity in a generic priority setting framework. Using aggregate criteria an empirical measure of the efficiency/equity trade-off is calculated and a selection of health care interventions, including mental health, are ranked in composite league tables (CLTs).

Results
With the exception of severity of the condition, all equity parameters decrease attractiveness of an intervention, whereas the opposite holds for all three efficiency criteria. The efficiency/equity ratio (i.e. decision-makers' preference for efficiency over equity) is 3.5 and 5 for interventions targeted at younger and middle age populations, respectively, while for older populations this ratio is negative implying a rejection of all equity criteria. Irrespective of such differences interventions targeting mental health rank highly on all CLTs.

Conclusion
Based on system-wide generic decision making criteria, mental health is shown to be a top priority for Austria. Preference-based approaches might offer complementary information to policymakers in priority setting decisions and a useful tool to support rationale rather than ad hoc decision-making.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: ICMPE
Copyright: © 2014 The Author(s)
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36960
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