Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(1), 223-243; doi:10.3390/ijerph9010223
Article

The Relevance of Personal Characteristics in Allocating Health Care Resources—Controversial Preferences of Laypersons with Different Educational Backgrounds

Received: 3 August 2011; in revised form: 12 December 2011 / Accepted: 11 January 2012 / Published: 16 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: In all industrial countries publicly funded health care systems are confronted with budget constraints. Therefore, priority setting in resource allocation seems inevitable. This paper examines whether personal characteristics could be taken into consideration when allocating health services in Germany, and whether attitudes towards prioritizing health care vary among individuals with different levels of education. Using a conjoint analysis approach, hypothetical patients described in terms of ‘lifestyle’, ‘age’, ‘severity of illness’, ‘type of illness’, ‘improvement in health’, and ‘treatment costs’ were constructed, and the importance weights for these personal characteristics were elicited from 120 members of the general public. Participants were selected according to a sampling guide including educational background, age, chronic illness and gender. Results are reported for groups with different levels of education (low, middle, high) only. The findings show that the patients’ age is the most important criterion for the allocation of health care resources, followed by ‘severity of illness’ and ‘improvement in health’. Preferences vary among participants with different educational backgrounds, which refer to different attitudes towards distributive justice and might represent different socialization experiences.
Keywords: prioritizing; health behavior; conjoint analysis; distributive justice; distributive preferences; public attitudes; Germany; socialization theory
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MDPI and ACS Style

Winkelhage, J.; Diederich, A. The Relevance of Personal Characteristics in Allocating Health Care Resources—Controversial Preferences of Laypersons with Different Educational Backgrounds. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 223-243.

AMA Style

Winkelhage J, Diederich A. The Relevance of Personal Characteristics in Allocating Health Care Resources—Controversial Preferences of Laypersons with Different Educational Backgrounds. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2012; 9(1):223-243.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Winkelhage, Jeannette; Diederich, Adele. 2012. "The Relevance of Personal Characteristics in Allocating Health Care Resources—Controversial Preferences of Laypersons with Different Educational Backgrounds." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 9, no. 1: 223-243.

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