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2021 Abstract Information

Important information for abstracts


List of health economics fields and sub-fields


What are the key changes for the 2021 iHEA Congress?

Promoting more intensive discussion of research during congress sessions

Feedback from previous congresses indicates that delegates value the opportunity to get some feedback on the research they present and for more intensive discussion of presentations in general.  This will be promoted as follows:

  • The submission of organized sessions is particularly encouraged.Gender, age and regional diversity in organized sessions is recommended.
  • Organized sessions should include three to four presentations and preferably one or more discussants.
  • All ‘contributed sessions’ (i.e. made up of presentations on a similar topic submitted as individual abstracts) will be assigned a moderator who will not only chair the session but actively facilitate discussion.
  • All presenters will be required to submit their presentations several weeks before the congress so that these can be made available to the moderator and other presenters in each session, allowing for advance preparation of discussion points. Advance submission of presentations is also critical given that the congress will be held virtually, requiring that all presentations are loaded onto the virtual congress platform beforehand. Any presenters who do not submit their presentations by the deadline will be removed from the program.
  • We encourage mid- and senior-career researchers to volunteer to be moderators.


Promoting internationalization and fair opportunities to present research

iHEA is committed to promoting greater age, gender and regional diversity in congress presenters and delegates.  It is also committed to promoting ethical collaborative research practices in projects which involve researchers from different countries and with different levels of experience.  This is particularly important in research which requires primary data collection, where researchers who are from low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) may be excluded from participating in the initial study design, analysis of data and dissemination of research findings.  To promote the strengthening of health economics research capacity around the globe, collaborative research which encourages contributions by all partners through the whole research process, from proposal and methodological development, through data collection, analysis and to dissemination of findings in articles and at conferences, is desirable.  Promoting equitable opportunities in presenting collaborative research may involve support to less experienced researchers to submit strong abstracts, as well as in preparing high quality presentations and doing preparatory ‘dry runs’.

What types of abstracts will be considered?

There are two categories of abstract submissions that will be considered by the Scientific Committee:

  • An individual abstract in one of the primary health economics fields (see below) to be considered for inclusion in a ‘contributed’ session, which is made up of individual abstracts on a similar topic.
  • Organized session proposals of three to four presentations with one or more discussants. Panel discussions will not be considered for the virtual congress. Please find details of the information you will need to submit for organized session proposals here.   

Please note: To ensure blinded reviews, the names of presenters and discussants should NOT be mentioned in the abstract section for individual papers or in organized session descriptions.


How many abstracts can you submit?

You may submit a maximum of two abstracts where you would be the presenter. So, you could submit a maximum of:

  • two individual abstracts;
  • one individual abstract and one as part of an organized session; or
  • presentations as part of two organized sessions

Please note:

  • The limit of two abstracts applies only to your role as a presenter and not to your role as a discussant or a session moderator.This means that you may be included as a discussant and/or a session moderator in other sessions in addition to making up to two presentations.You may also be a co-author on other submitted abstracts.
  • If an organized session proposal is not accepted on review, papers within that session will NOT automatically be considered for acceptance as individual abstracts.

There remain a limited number of presenters from LMICs at iHEA congresses, although there has been an increase in presentations on LMICs.  iHEA encourages the presentation of research based on primary data by local researchers from the country which is the subject of the research.  This contributes to strengthening capacity in the dissemination of research findings where LMIC researchers are less experienced than some other members of collaborative teams.  Equally important, knowledge of and insights into the local health system, economic and political context are fundamental to appropriate interpretation of research findings.

The updated abstract submission system, therefore, explicitly asks whether the presenter is from the country (or one of the countries in the case of multi-country studies) which is the subject of the research, or has invested considerable time working in the country and developing substantial relationships with local colleagues during the project (e.g. whilst conducting PhD research).  Where the presenter does not meet these criteria, they will be asked to justify the choice of presenter.  This only applies for primary data driven projects, as it is common for researchers around the world to be able to access and analyze large, public domain datasets from countries other than their own (even though concerns about lack of local contextual knowledge for interpretation of findings remain).

Why is there a limit on the number of abstracts you can submit?

In addition to providing an opportunity for as many people as possible to participate actively in the congress, this limit also seeks to reduce unnecessary burden on the Scientific Committee.  In past congresses, some individuals have submitted over 10 abstracts.  But as is often the case, quantity ¹ quality; in many cases where large numbers of abstracts were submitted by an individual, none of these abstracts were selected for presentation.  You are encouraged to focus on preparing one or two high quality abstracts.


Why you should consider submitting an organized session proposal?

Experience from previous iHEA congresses indicates that organized sessions generally receive far higher scores in the abstract review process.  This means that there is a higher acceptance rate of organized sessions than individual abstracts.  Organized sessions also generally have higher attendance levels than contributed sessions consisting of accepted individual abstracts.  This is because an organized session includes papers relating to a single topic and so has a more coherent focus than a contributed session which tries to group abstracts on related issues into a session.  Organized sessions also generally include discussants or use other mechanisms to stimulate discussion among session participants.

If you would like to consider submitting an organized session proposal, iHEA members can:

  • Use our SocialLink to identify other researchers around the world undertaking research in the same area as you and to network with them to collaboratively develop an organized session proposal; or
  • If you undertake research related to the focus of one of the iHEA Special Interest Groups (SIG), why not join the SIG and network with fellow SIG members to arrange an organized session proposal.

You are encouraged to consider the gender, career stage and geographic composition of presenters and discussants.  Feedback from previous congresses included the following comments: 
“A ban on all-male panels would be welcome. Health economics is a generally well-balanced field between genders. There is no excuse.”
“The male/female breakdown at key organised sessions was heavily weighted in favour of males. It is essential to address this at future meetings.”

However, given that the 2021 Congress will be virtual, please try to ensure that all involved in an organized session are within a 10-hour spread of time zones (i.e. no one should be more than 10-hours ahead or behind others in the session).  A table containing the time zones from which most iHEA congress delegates come is provided below to assist with planning organized sessions. A figure providing an overview of time zones relative to each other can be downloaded here.

Please note: It takes time to develop a high quality organized session proposal, so start networking at an early stage.


Overview of key time zones during July 2021 relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Relative to UTC

Time zone acronym

Time Zone name

Some of the countries included in

that time zone

UTC -7


Pacific Daylight Time

Western parts of North America

UTC -6


Mountain Daylight Time

North America (between Western & Central parts)

UTC -5


Central Daylight Time

Central parts of North America

Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru

UTC -4


Eastern Daylight Time

Eastern parts of North America

Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay

UTC -3



Brasilia Time

Argentina Time





Greenwich Mean Time


Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal

UTC +1



British Summer Time

West Africa Time

UK, Portugal

Cameroon, Nigeria

UTC +2



Central European Summer Time

Central Africa Time

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Botswana, Egypt, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

UTC +3



Eastern European Summer Time

Eastern African Time

Greece, Turkey

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

UTC +5.30


India Standard Time

India, Sri Lanka

UTC +7


Indochina Time

Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam

UTC +8



China Standard Time

Australian Western Standard Time

China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan

Western parts of Australia

UTC +9



Japan Standard Time

Korea Standard Time



UTC +10


Australian Eastern Standard Time

Eastern parts of Australia

UTC +12


New Zealand Standard Time

New Zealand

What are the health economics fields under which abstracts can be submitted?

Since the 2017 iHEA congress, abstract submission and program scheduling has been organized around a set of ‘health economics fields’.  These fields, and sub-fields, have been updated and are presented in the table below.  The use of fields and sub-fields assists in ensuring that abstracts are reviewed by peers with relevant expertise and in grouping individual abstracts into coherent contributed sessions.  It will also assist us to avoid scheduling two or more sessions on the same sub-field at the same time.

Abstract submitters will be asked to identify up to three sub-fields, preferably in the same primary field.  Please review the table below carefully before submitting an abstract to identify the most appropriate sub-fields and field(s) for your abstract.  Abstract submitters will separately be asked to indicate whether their paper relates to the focus area of a Special Interest Group (see list below).  This will allow for improved program scheduling for those interested in these topics.


Primary fields


1. Health beyond health care services: non-medical production of health and the value of health

  • Social determinants of health (e.g. education, income, wealth, employment, relative deprivation, the economy)
  • Public health, prevention and information
  • Behavioural economics and health production
  • Health habits: determinants and consequences (substance use, nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep)
  • Family economics and social interaction
  • Evaluation of non-medical health prevention and promotion interventions
  • The value of health (including human capital, labour market outcomes, wellbeing)
2. Demand & utilization of health services
  • Demand for health insurance
  • Demand for health & health care, including for specific services
  • Influences on utilization (including out-of-pocket costs)
  • Barriers to access (including informational, financial, behaviour biases, preferences)
3. Supply of health services

  • Health care labour markets (including education, agency relationships and provider reimbursement)
  • Care setting (including primary care, hospitals, long-term care, integrated care, mental health services, hospice, dental services)
  • Pharmaceutical products and medical devices
  • Competition and market failure in health care supply
  • System organisation (including private for-profit, not-for-profit, public, mixed, vertical integration)
  • Regulation
  • Quality of care
  • Rationing and priority setting
4. Health care financing & expenditures

  • National health accounts
  • Health care spending trends
  • Voluntary health insurance, including competition, moral hazard, selection effects, risk variation and regulation
  • Mandatory health insurance, including risk-equalization and pool integration
  • Fiscal space for government funding of health care
  • Financing for Universal Health Coverage, including financial risk protection and reducing pool fragmentation
  • Strategic purchasing, including benefits design, contracting, provider payment mechanisms, drug pricing
5. Economic evaluation of health and care interventions
  • Cost effectiveness analysis
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Health outcome measurement
  • Non-health outcome measurement (including capability, wellbeing, care)
  • Resource use and costing
  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • Modelling in economic evaluation
  • Equity in economic evaluation
6. Evaluation of policy, programs and health system performance

  • Health System Efficiency
  • Equity in financing, access and quality of care
  • Distributional aspects of health policy
  • Evaluation of innovative programs of system delivery
  • Integrating health & social services/long-term care
  • Fund holding & risk sharing
7. Specific populations

  • Maternal and infant health
  • Children and young people
  • Older people
  • End of life and palliative care
  • Mental health
  • Disability
  • Infectious diseases
  • Non-communicable illness
8. Cross-cutting themes and other issues

  • Theoretical developments
  • Political economy of health care
  • Teaching health economics
  • Cross-cutting issues: COVID-19 and pandemics
  • Cross-cutting issues: Digital health
  • Cross-cutting issues: innovation and research and development
  • Cross-cutting methods: Econometric developments
  • Cross-cutting methods: Microsimulation
  • Cross-cutting methods: Qualitative health economics research
  • Cross-cutting methods: Stated Preference


SIG related topics

  • Economics of Obesity
  • Economics of Palliative & End-of-Life Care
  • Equity Informative Economic Evaluation
  • Financing for Universal Health Coverage
  • Health Preference Research
  • Health Systems' Efficiency
  • Health Workforce
  • Immunization Economics
  • Mental Health Economics
  • Teaching Health Economics (THE)
  • None of these

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