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Special Invited Sessions (SIS)



Special Invited Session topics are listed in alphabetical order, as in the abstract submission system.


Addressing the Health Economics Capacity Shortfall Through Quality Health Economics Teaching

Given the recognized capacity shortfall in health economics expertise globally, there is a need not only to increase the number of health economists being trained but also to ensure that courses are of high quality and relevant to address health system needs in different contexts.  We encourage abstract submissions that illustrate innovative ways of increasing the reach of health economics teaching programs, using research outputs to enhance the teaching of applied health economics, and teaching that promotes the application of health economics analysis to addressing priority health policy issues.


Demand and Utilization Among Those with Multiple Chronic Conditions

People with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) are heavy utilizers of medical services and present many challenges for care coordination and management. The goals of the session are to explore determinants of demand among patients with MCC and to present evidence of effective interventions or policies to better optimize care for multiple chronic conditions.


Demand and Utilization of Breast Cancer Screening: Weighing up Benefits and Costs

Breast cancer screening programs result in benefits such as reduced breast cancer mortality, but can also lead to overdiagnosis, which has a range of adverse consequences. We encourage submissions relating to the estimation of the benefits and costs of breast cancer screening, how these can be used to help women in their decision to undertake screening, and for optimizing screening strategies.


Demand and Utilization of Mental Health Services by Young People: Preferences, Barriers and Disparities

Despite high prevalence rates of mental health problems amongst young people, many do not receive appropriate professional services or support. We encourage submissions relating to the preferences of young people for mental health services, the barriers they face in accessing services, as well as socioeconomic and other disparities in the utilization of services.


Digital Health Around the World

This session would include papers reporting on how information technology and data analytics have shaped supply of healthcare services. Potential papers could explore how physicians and other healthcare organizations, as well as medical technology companies have used digital disruptions in their business models and delivery of care.


Economics of Ageing: Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

This session will present new empirical studies and methodologies in the health economics of dementia and cognitive decline including the investigation of longitudinal data or treatment effects in randomized control trials.


Economics of Ageing: Long-Term Care

This session will focus on issues in supply of, and demand for long-term care among the ageing populations globally. Especially welcome would be studies utilizing large data sets that use econometric methods to identify causal effects where possible.


Emerging Issues in Health Care Labor Markets

This session would include papers reporting on recent developments in health care labor markets.  Labor markets to consider could include physicians, nurses, and non-clinical staff among others.  Some examples of relevant issues are: task-shifting across provider types; labor shortages and surpluses; anticipating future labor needs; and international migration of health professionals.


Experiments in Health Economics

The session will focus on the use of experimental methods (both qualitative and quantitative) in health economics. Studies exploring lab or field experiments of revealed or stated behavior are encouraged irrespective of substantive topic but with contributions to the methodology and/or the development of the field.


Financial Protection in Health

Financial protection is at the core of universal health coverage and is achieved when direct payments made to obtain health services do not expose people to financial hardship and do not threaten living standards. This session invites empirical studies that measure levels of financial protection in health as well as those evaluating the impact of government policy in this area.


Heath Economics and the Capability Approach

The capability approach is an alternative approach to welfare economics which takes capabilities and functionings as focal variables for welfare assessment. The capability approach differs from utility-based and preference-based, as well as resource-based (focusing on income or commodities), accounts.  The goals of this session are to explore applications of the capability approach to the economics of health and health care to better understand the implications of the capability framework for the field of health economics.


Improving Policy Through Value of Information (VOI)

This session will enable assessment of the current use and potential of VOI analysis for research prioritization and efficient study design, including applications to clinical trials, diagnostic test evaluation and cost-effectiveness analyses.  Specific topics include methodological issues, various aspects of the decision-making process, and engagement with policy makers.


Incorporating Demand into Economic Evaluations: The Role of Discrete Choice Experiments

Economic evaluations often rely of assumptions around uptake in modelling cost-effectiveness, however demand constraints can significantly affect impact and intervention cost-effectiveness, particularly in infectious diseases and prevention. We seek submissions using novel, empirically based, approaches to estimating incorporating demand constraints in economic evaluations, spanning high- and low-income settings.


Inequality of Opportunity in Health

Health inequality has many sources, not all of which are equally objectionable. The “egalitarian” framework within the inequality of opportunity (IOp) concept does not necessarily indicate equality of the distribution of health per se but instead emphasizes the role of an individuals’ effort in searching for a “fair” distribution of health. Topics include both methodological advances and empirical applications to quantify and compare IOp in health across counties and within population groups.


International Comparisons of Drug Reimbursement and Pricing Approaches

This session would include papers reporting on recent experience with different approaches to paying for medications, whether by public or private purchasers.  Potential approaches could include reference-based pricing, tiered formularies, value-based insurance design among others.  Some outcomes to consider might include the impact on patient care, spending, and the rational use of medications.


Multi-faceted Approaches to Obesity

Increasing obesity is becoming one of the most significant global challenges of modern times, causing huge economic and societal burden.  This session will consider the role that economists may play in addressing this crisis, including but not limited the use of economic tools to explain individual and market behavior, develop interventions for testing, and formulate policy.  The relevance of different approaches in varied systems by income and political structure will also be considered.


Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs):  The Role in Evaluation of Health Services and Policy

This session will consider the development, measurement, reimbursement implications, and relevance for markets of using PROMs to benchmark health services. Using PROMs to guide clinical care is becoming more commonplace, however PROMs for quality assurance and benchmarking of health services is controversial.  Governments, clinical commissioning groups, and private providers are mandating the use of PROMs in an attempt to embrace patient-centered care, but little thought has been given as to how these data can or should be used.  Specific topics can encompass a range of issues including the use of clinical quality registries for the purpose of hospital quality assurance and benchmarking.


Physician Decision-making and Personalized Medicine

The general theme is how physician decision-making has changed, or will change, with the advent of personalized care. This might include topics such as decision aides, guidelines, incentives, effects on cost and health outcomes, and the physician-patient interaction more generally.


Public Health Spending and Universal Coverage

Robust and sustainable health financing systems are fundamental to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). We invite submissions to this session that evaluate the relationship between country-level health spending and improved service coverage and health outcomes. The session seeks to inform investment decisions regarding UHC.


Public Preferences in Screening and Prevention Uptake

This session will focus on health preference studies that examine the effect of attributes on the uptake of screening and preventive services within a community.  We encourage submissions that apply rigorous experimental designs, innovative methods, and implementation strategies that improve uptake and demonstrate cultural competence, particularly in heterogeneous and underserved populations


Recent Advances in Health Econometrics

This session will focus on new methods in health econometrics and innovative applications of statistical methodology in health economics. We especially encourage submissions related to causal inference, big data methods and the combination of both to inform health policy and decision-making.


Spatial Competition in Health Care Markets

Health care providers are usually geographically differentiated and serve local markets. This session will showcase emerging research exploring how patients choose, and how health care providers compete on quality, price or other attributes across geographical space. Studies may highlight important spatial-econometric modelling concerns, datasets which account for area effects or travel distances, or theoretical approaches highlighting horizontal differentiation.


Strategic Purchasing of Health Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Improving the strategic nature of purchasing is critical to health system strengthening and progressing towards the health SDG goals. This session will explore and compare the different approaches taken by low and middle-income countries to strategic purchasing, the bottlenecks faced and the role of economic evidence in defining health benefit packages.


Survey Measurement of Health and its Potential for Health Economics Research

Recent advances in large social science surveys involve the collection of physical measurements and markers derived from biological samples (biomarkers), in addition to conventional, subjective self-reported health assessments. This session will focus on the potential of biomarker information in health economics and social science research more broadly. We particularly encourage submissions related to the production of health and the role of a healthy lifestyle, inequalities in health, and health policy evaluations.


The Use of Discrete Choice Experiments in Policy: Future Directions and Challenges

Discrete choice experiments are widely used in health economics to model preferences and to predict choice. However, their uptake in decision making has been limited to date. Reasons for this slow adoption may include risk-aversion from policy makers when considering new methodology, or concerns about the generalizability of DCEs. We encourage submissions that consider either the theoretical or practical issues with adoption, and any exemplar instances of DCE use in such settings.


The Use of Economic Evaluation in Non-traditional Areas

The application of cost effectiveness analysis in areas beyond traditional health technology assessment is growing, including their use in social care and public health as well as in areas of public policy which have a health impact, for example environmental interventions, education programs or criminal justice policies.  The application of economic evaluation in such settings is not without its challenges either in terms estimating costs, identifying effects and outcomes or determining decision making thresholds.  We encourage submissions of applications of economic evaluations in these areas, especially those that are advancing the methodology of economic evaluation.   



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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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