Health policy analysis

Jump to: navigation, search

Health policy analysis is the process of assessing and choosing among spending and resource alternatives that affect the health care system, public health system, or the health of the general public. Health policy analysis involves several steps: identifying or framing a problem; identifying who is affected (stakeholders); identifying and comparing the potential impact of different options for dealing with the problem; choosing among the options; implementing the chosen option(s); and evaluating the impact. The stakeholders can include government, private healthcare providers (e.g. hospitals, health plans, office-based clinicians), industry groups (e.g., pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device manufacturers), professional associations, industry and trade associations, advocacy groups, and consumers.

History of health policy

Public health policy today

Relationship between health policies and health

Health care financing

Health care can be financed in combinations of four basic ways. Provision can be public or private. Finance can be public or private. A self-employed doctor working for the National Health Service is an example of private provision with public finance (D). A private hospital which is financed by private health insurance schemes is an example of private finance and provision (C). Private insurers can buy services from publicly owned hospitals (A) and finally health can be provided by publicly financed staff in publicly financed hospitals,(B) as in the Spanish National Health system.

A. Public Provision Private Finance. B. Public Provision Public Finance. C. Private Provision Private Finance. D. Private Provision, Public Finance.

See: Donaldson & Gerard. 1993.

Each means of financing of course has implications for efficiency and equity. A system can be progressive and so more equitable or regressive and less equitable. Transfers of wealth can be from the sick to the healthy or from rich to poor. There is a fundamental problem with direct payment or Fees for Service (FFS) systems in that if you are ill you are often unable to work and earn the money needed to pay for treatment.

Delivery system

Health informatics or medical informatics is the intersection of information science, medicine and health care. It deals with the resources, devices and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems.

Policy concerns regarding informatics include those of information privacy (see HIPAA), contagious disease tracking, and disaster management.

Healthcare disparities

Health disparities refer to gaps in the quality of health and health care across racial and ethnic groups. The Health Resources and Services Administration defines health disparities as "population-specific differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, or access to health care."

See also


  • WHO Definition of Health Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, 1946
  • Control of Communicable Diseases Manual edited by James B. Chin, APHA, 2000
  • Encyclopedia of public health edited by Lester Breslow, Macmillan Reference 2002
  • Munger, Michael C. "Analyzing Policy: Choices, Conflicts, and Practices." New York: Norton, 2000.
  • Donaldson, c. & Gerard. K. Economics of Health Care Financing.London: Macmillan, 1993.
  • Navarro, Vincente, "The Politics of Health Policy: The U.S. Reforms, 1980-1994", Blackwell Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1557863180