Consequences of a decentralized healthcare governance model: measuring regional authority support for patient choice in Sweden
2008 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 67, no 2, 271-279 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
What are the implications of a decentralized model of healthcare governance? This case study on patient choice in Sweden is an attempt to shed light on this issue. Due to decentralization and constitutional rights of self-determination, the regional authorities in Sweden, called County Councils (CCs), have far-reaching rights to manage the healthcare sector. The fact that patient choice is considered to be a soft law or a soft governance regulation, opens it up to regional variation. To examine the CCs level of support of patient choice, an index is presented. The Patient Choice Index (PCI) shows that there is extensive variation among the CCs. To explain the causes of these variations, a number of hypotheses are tested. The analyses imply that ideology and economy, and more specifically the CCs' governing majorities and running net profits, are major explanations for the level of support. A number of conclusions can be drawn from the results of this study. In short, the CCs appear to act according to a local point of view, which means that there is no functioning national patient choice standard, and thus patients do not have equal access to healthcare and patients' rights are unevenly distributed. Furthermore, the CCs' financial conditions and governing majorities seem to undermine equivalent reform realization in a national context. In summary, the results of this study emphasize the conflict between regional self-governance and national equality, which is particularly visible in the decentralized Swedish healthcare model.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 67, no 2, 271-279 p.
Sweden, patient choice, equality, healthcare policy, healthcare politics, soft governance
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject Health Care Research
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-17537DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.03.025ISI: 000257606400007PubMedID: 18450346OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-17537DiVA: diva2:45308