UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An examination of the ethical decision-making processes used in decisions to fund, reduce or cease funding tailored health services Evoy, Brian


Health authority administrators were interviewed for their perspectives on what makes a good health care system; on tailored population-specific services as a way to address health inequities; and on how they perceive themselves to be making good funding decisions on the public’s behalf. The qualitative descriptive research dataset includes 24 hour-and-a-half long interviews with administrators from four BC health authorities, health region documents, memos, and field notes. Participants support the continuation of a public health care system and all participants acknowledge using tailored services as a route towards reducing health inequities. However, these identified services have not been evaluated for their overall effectiveness. When it comes to decision-making, participants describe using a series of governance and bioethical principles that help them frame what and how issues can be considered. Decision situations are framed in a way that informs them whether they need to use formal or informal processes. In both cases participants collect information that allows others to understand that they have made wise decisions. The Recognition-Primed Decision Model accurately reflects the intuitive processes that participants describe using during informal decision-making and portions of formal decision-making. However, in relation to formal decision situations, there is less alignment with existing Decision-Analysis literature. Seven practice and future research recommendations are provided: 1. Increase health authority participation in intersectoral partnerships that address non-medical determinants of health. 2. Develop new strategies for addressing health inequities. 3. Evaluate the efficacy of using tailored services beyond their ability to remove barriers to access. In addition, increase focus on testing new strategies for reducing the inequities gap. 4. Enhance existing decision-making processes by including the explicit review of decision tradeoffs, value weighting, and mechanisms for requesting revisions. 5. Focus future research on developing and evaluating the usefulness of formal decision-making tools in health authority structures and their relation to decision latitude. 6. Launch a longitudinal research study that examines how health authority expert decision-makers use judgmental heuristics and how they avoid the negative effects of bias. 7. Commission public dialogue on shifting the current illness-based system to one that is wellness based.

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