Health care need: Three interpretations

Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (2):145–156 (2006)
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Abstract

abstract The argument that scarce health care resources should be distributed so that patients in ‘need’ are given priority for treatment is rarely contested. In this paper, we argue that if need is to play a significant role in distributive decisions it is crucial that what is meant by need can be precisely articulated. Following a discussion of the general features of health care need, we propose three principal interpretations of need, each of which focuses on separate intuitions. Although this account may not be a completely exhaustive reflection of what people mean when they refer to need, the three interpretations provide a starting‐point for further debate of what the concept means in its specific application. We discuss combined interpretations, the meaning of grading needs, and compare needs‐based priority setting to social welfare maximisation.

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Citations of this work

Challenges for Principles of Need in Health Care.Niklas Juth - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (1):73-87.
Indeterminacy and the principle of need.Herlitz Anders - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (1):1-14.
From Needs to Health Care Needs.Erik Gustavsson - 2013 - Health Care Analysis (1):1-14.
Health-care needs and shared decision-making in priority-setting.Erik Gustavsson & Lars Sandman - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (1):13-22.

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On the distinction between disease and illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.
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Principles of justice in health care rationing.R. Cookson & Paul Dolan - 2000 - Journal of Medical Ethics 26 (5):323-329.
Equity - some theory and its policy implications.A. J. Culyer - 2001 - Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (4):275-283.

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