Values in Health Policy – A Concept Analysis

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Medical Education, School of Medical Education, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Despite the significant role “values” play in decision-making no definition or attributes regarding the concept have been provided in health policy-making. This study aimed to clarify the defining attributes of a concept of value and its irrelevant structures in health policy-making. We anticipate our findings will help reduce the semantic ambiguities associated with the use of “values” and other concepts such as principles, criteria, attitudes, and beliefs.
An extensive search of literature was carried out using electronic data base and library. The overall search strategy yielded about 1540 articles and 450 additional records. Based on traditional qualitative research, studies were purposefully selected and the coding of articles continued until data saturation was reached. Accordingly, 31 articles, 2 books, and 5 other documents were selected for the review. We applied Walker and Avant’s method of concept analysis in studying the phenomenon. Definitions, applications, attributes, antecedents, and consequences of the concept of “value in health policy-making” were extracted. We also identified similarities and differences that exist between and within them.
We identified eight major attributes of “value in health policy-making”: ideological origin, affect one’s choices, more resistant to change over time, source of motivation, ability to sacrifice one’s interest, goal-oriented nature for community, trans-situational and subjectivity. Other features pinpointed include alternatives, antecedents, and consequences. Alternative, antecedents and consequences case may have more or fewer attributes or may lack one of these attributes and at the same time have other distinctive ones.
Despite the use of the value framework, ambiguities still persist in providing definition of the concept value in health policy-making. Understanding the concept of value in health policy-making may provide extra theoretical support to decision-makers in their policy-making process, to help avoid poor policy formulation and wastage of limited resources.


Main Subjects

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  • Receive Date: 31 December 2015
  • Revise Date: 30 July 2016
  • Accept Date: 31 July 2016
  • First Publish Date: 01 November 2016