Document Type : Commentary
Oxford Policy Management Ltd, Oxford, UK
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Governance in health is cited as one of the key factors in balancing the concerns of the government and public sector with the interests of civil society/private players, but often remains poorly described and operationalized. Richard Saltman and Antonio Duran look at two aspects in the search for new provider models in a context of health markets signalling liberalisation: (i) the role of the government to balance public and private interests and responsibilities in delivering care through modernised governance arrangements, and (ii) the finding that operational complexities may hinder well–designed provider governance models, unless governance reflects country-specific realities. This commentary builds on the discussion by Saltman and Duran, and argues that the concept of governance needs to be clearly defined and operationalized in order to be helpful for policy debate as well as for the development of an applicable framework for performance improvement. It provides a working definition of governance and includes a reflection on the prevailing cultural norms in an organization or society upon which any governance needs to be build. It proposes to explore whether the “evidence-based governance” concept can be introduced to generate knowledge about innovative and effective governance models, and concludes that studies similar to the one by Saltman and Duran can inform this debate.