Why has inequality in health between various groups in society been rising in recent decades? This is one of the questions that Mette Gortz and her research team will be examining over the next 4 years.
“Our overall hypothesis is that the benefits of new treatments and health technologies are unequally distributed. Because of differential patient and physician behaviour, new technologies spread at different speeds across different groups in society, widening gaps in health and mortality,” says Mette Gørtz, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen.
The project is one of three projects that have just received a grant of DKK 10 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Another project will examine the socioeconomic and societal effects of health research, and the third project focuses on the socioeconomic importance of disease management programmes in Denmark.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded the three grants under the Foundation’s Socioeconomic impacts of research in Denmark social science research programme that is being awarded for the second time. This year’s programme theme is the strengthening of evidence-based knowledge and the socioeconomic impact of research on health and disease at various levels.
Thomas Alslev Christensen, Head of Operations, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “In awarding grants to these three projects, we want to contribute to developing new knowledge on the economic impact of healthcare systems and their priorities to benefit patients and health in society. I would like to congratulate the grant recipients, and I look forward to following these three innovative projects in the coming year.”
ABOUT THE THREE PROJECTS
Title: Behavioural Responses to Health Innovations and the Consequences for Socioeconomic Outcomes.
Grant recipient: Mette Gørtz, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen.
Description: Inequality in health has been rising in recent decades. Despite higher health expenditure and awareness of disease prevention, the benefits of new and better healthcare are unequally distributed. A leading hypothesis is that more affluent and better-educated people more rapidly adopt new health technologies and therefore benefit disproportionately, widening the socioeconomic gap in health. This poses a pressing challenge to society.
The project seeks to answer the following questions.
1. How do health innovations transmit into economic outcomes?
2. How do innovations and behavior shape the income gradient in mortality?
3. Which mechanisms explain the gradient between education and health?
Title: Socioeconomic Impact of Policy Instruments for Health Research Dissemination.
Grant recipient: Mickael Bech, Professor, CEO, KORA – Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research.
Description: The objective of the proposed project is to evaluate the socioeconomic impact of policy instruments that apply, integrate and disseminate research for improving healthcare provision. The project focuses on three key policy instruments: specialty planning, clinical guidelines and capacity-building for research at hospitals. The qualitative research will be carried out at three selected hospitals that will undertake in-depth ethnographic field studies and interviews with different types of employees. The quantitative research will comprise impact studies using registry data.
“Research on health and disease can have a major impact on the population’s quality of life and may possibly also save money for society because research will make it possible to find several more effective treatment methods. There has not been much research on the impact of research. Together with our colleagues in the United Kingdom, we will contribute research on how knowledge can be translated into practice,” says Mickael Bech.
Title: Equity and the Socioeconomic Impact of Disease Management Programmes in Denmark.
Grant recipient: Karsten Vrangbæk, Professor, Department of Public Health and Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.
Description: This project aims to investigate two important challenges for health economics research. First, how can we evaluate the impact of complex disease management programmes? The nationwide programmes are an interdisciplinary and intersectoral concept for the development of systematic and evidence-based treatment programmes. A detailed programme description will be formulated for several chronic diseases including diabetes, lumbar and back disorders, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, schizophrenia and cancer rehabilitation based on a generic model of disease management. Interdisciplinary interventions such as these are very important but also represent a challenge in relation to traditional evaluation techniques. The project will analyse the origin and implementation of disease management programmes in Denmark. Subsequently, the research will assess the impact on selected groups of patients with the help of health registry and survey data.
The other main objective of the project is to focus on the equity of the impact on health as one element in the health economics assessment of disease management programmes. Although health economics is good at evaluating the impact on costs, it is less well developed in assessing whether new forms of treatment are equally effective for different groups of patients.
“The project will demonstrate how equality can be factored in as one element of this health economics evaluation theory and how this can influence the evaluation of health interventions. In overall terms, the project will provide thorough and innovative input to assessing the socioeconomic impact associated with using health research for developing and implementing disease prevention programmes for the major disease categories in Denmark,” says Karsten Vrangbæk.
Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, [email protected], +45 3067 4805