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Translating Value-Based Health Care: An Experiment into Healthcare Governance and Dialogical Accountability

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This article analyses an experiment into healthcare governance in Denmark inspired by principles of value-based health care and intended to re-orient the focus of healthcare governance from ‘productivity’ to ‘value for the patient’. The region in charge of the experiment exempted nine hospital departments from activity-based financing and accountability based on diagnosis-related groups, which allegedly incentivised hospitals in ‘perverse’ and counterproductive ways. Instead, the departments were to develop new indicators from their local practices to support and account for quality and value for the patient. Drawing on the actor-network theory concept of ‘translation’, this article analyses how the experiment was received and put into practice in the nine departments, and how it established new kinds of accountability relations. We argue that the experiment provides fruitful inspiration for future governance schemes in healthcare to embrace the local complexities of clinical practices. In particular, we argue that the locally developed indicators facilitated what we call ‘dialogical accountability’, and we discuss whether this represents a feasible way forward for value-based health care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Pages (from-to)1113-1126
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • accountability, actor-network theory, diagnosis-related groups, governance, performance indicators, translation, value-based healthcare

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