Public engagement in priority-setting: results from a pan-Canadian survey of decision-makers in cancer control

Soc Sci Med. 2014 Dec;122:130-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.10.038. Epub 2014 Oct 18.


Decision-makers are challenged to incorporate public input into priority-setting decisions. We conducted a pan-Canadian survey of decision-makers in cancer control to investigate the types of evidence, especially evidence supplied by the public, that are utilized in health care priority-setting. We further examined how normative attitudes and contextual factors influence the use of public engagement as evidence at the committee level. Administered between November and December 2012, 67 respondents from 117 invited individuals participated in the survey. The results indicated that public engagement was infrequently utilized compared to clinical effectiveness evidence or cost evidence. General positive agreement between normative attitudes towards the use of evidence and the frequency of evidence utilization was observed, but absence of correlative agreement was found for the types of evidence that are supplied by the general public and for cost-effectiveness inputs. Regression analyses suggested that public engagement was unevenly utilized between jurisdictions and that educational background and barriers to implementing public input may decrease the odds of using public engagement as evidence. We recommend that institutions establish a link between committee members' normative attitudes for using public engagement and its real-world utilization.

Keywords: Canada; Health care decision-making; Health policy; Priority setting; Public engagement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Budgets
  • Canada
  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Making*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Care Rationing / organization & administration*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Priorities / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Socioeconomic Factors