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Stakeholder involvement

Logically, health policies are more likely to be successful if the development processes involve all key stakeholders within and beyond the health systems.

This means that there is a need for active stakeholder engagement through consensus building, dialogue and compromises on the overall policy directions.

Who are stakeholders?

Broadly defined, a stakeholder is any individual, group or organisation that in involved or affected by a particular action. Within the health policy arena, these include:

  • Patients
  • Government
  • Research groups
  • Local community members
  • Health workers
  • Health insurance groups
  • Pharmaceutical organisations
  • Health managers
  • Local councils and many others

In the context of health policy development, stakeholder engagement refers to the process by which members influenced by any given policy are actively involved in the policy development process. These stakeholders are key to policy success as their support or opposition to the policy has operational consequences. As a result, there is a need to focus on the appropriate stakeholder engagement methods throughout the various policy development processes.

At the practical level, there’s often the assumption that public participation is already assured by the representation of a member of the public on the board or committee responsible for developing the policy. This assumption is problematic as the members of the board or committee are often regarded as people who support the course of the board and not their local members. This calls for innovative approaches to appropriately involving all key stakeholders in the policy process.

Your task

Does the engagement of stakeholders in policy development always lead to policy support?

Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Further reading

Burton, H., Adams, M., Bunton, R., & Schröder-Bäck, P. (2009). Developing Stakeholder Involvement for Introducing Public Health Genomics into Public Policy. Public Health Genomics, 12(1). https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/permalink/f/1ea4mrv/TN_medline19023186

Keown, K., Van Eerd, D., & Irvin, E. (2008). Stakeholder Engagement Opportunities in Systematic Reviews: Knowledge Transfer for Policy and Practice. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(2)

Rosenberg-Yunger, Z. R., Thorsteinsdóttir, H., Daar, A. S., & Martin, D. K. (2012). ‘Stakeholder involvement in expensive drug recommendation decisions: an international perspective. Health Policy, 105(2-3). https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/permalink/f/1ea4mrv/TN_elsevier_sdoi_10_1016_j_healthpol_2011_12_002

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This article is from the free online course:

Policy Formulation and Analysis in Healthcare

Coventry University