Internal barriers to efficiency: Why disinvestments are so difficult. Identifying and addressing internal barriers to disinvestment of health technologies
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonHealth Economics, Policy and Law. 2021, 16 473-488. 10.1017/S1744133121000037
Although efficiency is a core concept in health economics, its impact on health care practice still is modest. Despite an increased pressure on resource allocation, a widespread use of low-value care is identified. Nonetheless, disinvestments are rare. Why is this so? This is the key question of this paper: why are disinvestments not more prevalent and improving the efficiency of the health care system, given their sound foundation in health economics, their morally important rationale, the significant evidence for a long list of low-value care and available alternatives? Although several external barriers to disinvestments have been identified, this paper looks inside us for mental mechanisms that hamper rational assessment, implementation, use and disinvestment of health technologies. Critically identifying and assessing internal inclinations, such as cognitive biases, affective biases and imperatives, is the first step toward a more rational handling of health technologies. In order to provide accountable and efficient care we must engage in the quest against the figments of our minds; to disinvest in low-value care in order to provide high-value health care.