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Comparison of social values in health priority setting: the experiences of seven countries

Hakimeh Mostafavi, Mahdi Mahdavi, Fariba Mollajafari, Seyed Hadi Mirhashemi




Background: Priority setting is a key function to optimize the allocation of limited healthcare resources. Technical and judgmental criteria are used in priority setting decisions. The present study aims to compare the social values in some countries’ health care system based on Clark-Weale framework.

  Methods: We searched the PubMed and Scopus to find published studies on the role of social values in priority setting based on the Clark-Weale framework. We checked references in order to include landmark papers which were not found in the previous step. On the basis of this framework, we subsequently compared content and process values based on which priorities are set in identified studies.  

  Results: Our review showed that this framework is applied to describe social values in priority setting in Australia, England, China, Germany, Iran, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Latin American countries, and USA. Countries apply the social values in different ways. Some of them consider an extended range of values and some use only a limited number of values. Content values are often more reliable than process values. Contextual characteristics and having committees in operation to advise priority setting tasks had significant roles in taking social values into consideration in the process of health priority setting.

  Conclusion: It is difficult to examine how exactly health priority setting decisions are influenced by social values in health systems. However, a comparative picture of values and their relative importance can contribute to understand the status quo and under-represented values.


Clark-Weale Framework; Delivery of Health Care; Health Priorities; Social Values


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/sdh.v4i2.22568


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