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Comparative health policy goes qualitative: refocusing research after COVID-19
  • Viola Burau,
  • Ellen Kuhlmann,
  • Gabriela Lotta
Viola Burau
Aarhus Universitet Faculty of Health

Corresponding Author:viola@ph.au.dk

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Ellen Kuhlmann
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
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Gabriela Lotta
Fundacao Getulio Vargas - Sao Paulo Campos
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The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health policy frontstage and exposed the stark differences in government capacities to respond to the crisis. This has created new demands for comparative heath policy to support knowledge creation on a large scale. However, comparative health policy has been ill prepared; studies have focused on health systems and used typologies together with descriptive, quantitative methods. This clouds the view for the multi-level nature of health policy, the diverse actors involved and the many societal facets of governance performance. We argue for health policy as a bottom-up process with diverse interests and suggest researching these processes comparatively to support policy learning. This calls for expanding the methodology of comparative health policy to include approaches that make greater use of explorative, qualitative research. We introduce possible developmental pathways to illustrate what this may look like. Firstly, the Pan-European Commission points to novel transnational and cross-sectoral collaborations, and a coordinated policy response to global challenges like the pandemic. Secondly, feminist networks show how to shift the focus towards social inequalities and the health needs of women and vulnerable populations. Thirdly, researchers demonstrate the value of new knowledge emerging from small-scale bottom-up comparisons based on structured assessment frameworks. Together, these developmental pathways demonstrate the potential to refocus comparative health policy towards greater responsiveness to the societal performance of governments, such as social inequalities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This also opens opportunities for strengthening the global outlook of comparative health policy.
04 Nov 2022Submitted to International Journal of Health Planning and Management
21 Nov 2022Submission Checks Completed
21 Nov 2022Assigned to Editor
21 Nov 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Jan 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 May 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
16 Jun 20231st Revision Received
21 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
21 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
22 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
09 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Accept