Why we don't need "unmet needs"! On the concepts of unmet need and severity in health-care priority setting
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHealth Care Analysis. 2018, 1-19. 10.1007/s10728-018-0361-2
In health care priority setting different criteria are used to reflect the relevant values that should guide decision-making. During recent years there has been a development of value frameworks implying the use of multiple criteria, a development that has not been accompanied by a structured conceptual and normative analysis of how different criteria relate to each other and to underlying normative considerations. Examples of such criteria are unmet need and severity. In this article these crucial criteria are conceptually clarified and analyzed in relation to each other. We argue that disease-severity and condition-severity should be distinguished and we find the latter concept better reflects underlying normative values. We further argue that unmet need does not fulfil an independent and relevant role in relation to condition-severity except for in some limited situations when having to distinguish between conditions of equal severity (and where other features also equals each other).