Health and Healthcare in Transition: Dilemmas of Governance
- The goal is being able to analyze public health policy and evaluate changing social context.
- Student is capable of executing applied analysis of the political phenomena and political processes - by using political science methods - and in support of practical decision making process
- Able to think critically and interpret the experience (personal and of other persons), relate to professional and social activities
- Student is capable of retrieving, collecting, processing and analyzing information relevant for achieving goals in the professional field
- Healthcare Systems in the Contemporary World. Definitions: Governance vs Management vs Leadership in HealthThis lesson focuses on the main challenges and global shifts in the healthcare sector, which, in turn, create a demand for more systemic approaches to governance, management, and leadership. It appears to be difficult to differentiate these concepts (governance, management, and leadership) clearly due to their interrelations and complexity. This module will introduce different ways of defining and relating these concepts in order to illustrate challenges to finding a consensus between such definitions. History of the classification of health systems. The nature, purpose and limits of classification in comparative health policy
- Health as a Political vs Apolitical ConceptAssessing health system governance and performance requires ethical reflection on the following questions: 1) Who is responsible for health? 2) Who are the beneficiaries? There are different approaches in seeking answers to these questions. Healthcare policies entail scientific data, technologies, and expert recommendations that can appear non-political, as well as cultural norms and respect to individual liberty. But, on the other hand, health can become political in the context of decision-making that entails the distribution of resources and the selection of priorities and modes of action. So, in this module we will delve into these complexities and will work to understand what stands behind health policy and governance decisions. We will take a look at different ethical concepts that may underpin political decisions on health governance, health care reforms, or demands for redistributive policies.
- Public Participation vs Top-Down SteeringOn the one hand, citizens’ engagement in governance of health and health care is important for the transparency and responsiveness of decision-making, as well as for ensuring trust and cooperation. Moreover, often citizens themselves demand direct engagement, as exemplified by health activism: from local action to addressing environmental health risks, to global action on HIV/AIDS, and access to medicine. On the other hand, critics suggest that laypersons can add inefficiency, irrationality, and incoherence to health policy decision-making. There can be undesirable features in governance models heavily dependent on public engagement like interest-group competition in rule-making and the professionalization of citizen participation, where not all citizens are necessarily equally empowered to make contributions.
- Focus on Whole-of-Society vs Focus on Health Services ProvisionHealth governance is a field where the search for best solutions is continuous in all corners of the world. Health systems increasingly struggle with rising costs, ensuring adequate numbers of health professionals and providing access to the best life-saving treatments and technologies. You will hardly find a country that would not attempt to improve health system performance through reforming the health sector and improving health care delivery. But people’s health depends on multiple complex factors (from employment and work to transport and housing) and relates to social processes of industrialization, urbanization and globalization and to differential exposures to risks. Drivers of human health are not constrained to the health care system. Therefore, new and wider approaches to health governance appear: they are based on the idea of extending health governance from sectorial focus to the whole-of-society and whole-of-government level. These approaches argue that the improvement of a population’s health necessitates engaging non-health sectors and actors through policies and initiatives at all levels of governance, with or without the involvement of the health sector itself. This creates a dilemma for health governance: should it be focused on improving health service provision only, or embrace the whole of society and all sectors of governance?
- De Jure and de Facto Dimensions of Healthcare GovernanceQuite often the identification of the gaps or problems in the health care system result in recommendations to change certain regulations, i.e. to adopt a new law, to make the changes in the existing law, to issue an order etc (de jure dimension). Indeed, the suggestion to improve regulatory dimension can be seen as a systemic approach because the behavior and practices take place within the specific existing structure. Therefore, regulations are seen as the efficient entry point that has an impact on the numerous practices. However, changing structures or policy development requires substantial resources, e.g. political support, time and expertise. Also, the rule of law in some countries can be low, meaning that even if the law is adopted, it is not necessary that it will be reflected in actual practices. Sometimes the results are poor not because of lack of law, but because people may simply be lacking knowledge, skills, competences in, for example, organization management. Therefore, introducing new regulations (de jure dimension) is not always the entry point for the new (more healthy, more effective, more transparent etc.) practices (de facto dimension). Thus, we discuss a dilemma related to inconsistencies and imbalance between the structures on the one hand, and practices on the other hand, as well as the challenges that arise when only one perspective (de jure or de facto) is taken into account. In this lesson we explore the dilemma between de jure and de facto dimensions in health care governance.
- Change, Reforms and Stability in Health and Healthcare GovernanceThe stability of healthcare systems can be equally as important as change, especially in systems that are performing relatively well. The issue of stability and change in sectors and institutions, including health care, is rooted in the socio-cultural and historical context of the country as well as in current capacities for change. We may see that some countries or systems are more inclined to change when compared to others. Indeed, health care reforms have occurred in most post-communist countries after the Soviet Union collapsed, however the healthcare systems of some of the ex-republics continue functioning as they were designed in the Soviet Union. Several decades ago stability was seen as one of the most essential values in this setting, while now nostalgic moods in some of the countries may partially explain difficulties in the implementing reforms. In this module we will illustrate the concepts of “stability” and “change” or “reform” by the case of changing tax-based and insurance-based mechanisms of health care system financing, and its performance under varying and transforming socio-cultural and health conditions. The transition in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe is taken as an illustrative context for the case.
- Online Course AssignmentsAssignments suggested by the MOOC
- Group presentation: Development of a healthcare governance systemFor the discussion group students prepare a group presentation devoted to the healthcare system and its development in any state. Specific systems are assigned to the groups by the instructor. In a group, there should be no more than 5 people. Students should cover: the stages of development of health system in the last 25 years; main leaders and reformers there; were there any changes due to history; essential values of the healthcare system; the role of NGO and business in the healthcare system. Time of presenting is not more than 15 minutes. The presentation should be done in PowerPoint (or something like that). Presentations should be sent to the instructor before the 26th of April.
- EssaysWithin the course student have to write 2 short essays (150-200 words), that covers the 1st and the 3rd week’s topics. The first essay must be submitted on April, the 12th , the 3rd essay – on April, the 27th. The essays might be sent to the e-mail of instructor.
- Final TestThe final test is administered at the last seminar of the course. The test consists of 20 closed questions. Each correct answer for a question yields 1 point
- TestTest consist of 10 closed question devoted to the 2nd week topic of the course. Test might be passed online and it should be done till the April, the 19th.
- Interim assessment (4 module)0.15 * Essays + 0.25 * Final Test + 0.25 * Group presentation: Development of a healthcare governance system + 0.25 * Online Course Assignments + 0.1 * Test
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