Objective: While much literature has debated public engagement in health care decision-making, there is no consensus on when public engagement should be sought and how it should be obtained. We conducted a scoping review to examine public engagement in one specific area: priority setting and resource allocation.
Method: The review drew upon a broad range of health and non-health literature in an attempt to elicit what is known and not known on this topic, and through this to outline any guidance to assist decision-makers and identify where efforts for future research should be directed.
Results: Governments appear to recognize benefits in consulting multiple publics using a range of methods, though more traditional approaches to engagement continue to predominate. There appears to be growing interest in deliberative approaches to public engagement, which are more commonly on-going rather than one-off and more apt to involve face-to-face contact. However, formal evaluation of public engagement efforts is rare. Also absent is any real effort to demonstrate how public views might be integrated with other decision inputs when allocating social resources.
Conclusion: While some strands can be taken to inform current priority setting activity, this scoping review identified many gaps and highlights numerous areas for further research.