Healthcare prioritisation

Alec Morton is interested in theory-based, practical tools for the prioritisation of healthcare investments by local health authorities or national governments.

Socio-Technical Allocation of Resources (STAR) methodology

Alec developed the STAR (Socio-Technical Allocation of Resources) methodology (Airoldi, Morton, Smith and Bevan, 2014) with colleagues Professor Gwyn Bevan and Dr Mara Airoldi from the London School of Economics, and Dr Jenifer Smith of Public Health England. The project was sponsored by the Health Foundation.

The STAR methodology has been used in various Primary Care Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups in England. The STAR team has also worked with IMPRESS, a clinical expert group on respiratory disease, to formulate guidance on best value commissioning for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods challenges

Alec has written about key methods challenges in healthcare prioritisation, for example:

  • How decision makers can be brought to reflect on the equity/ efficiency tradeoff, and on how to balance obligations to different subpopulations.
  • How to evaluate health systems strengthening interventions such as investments in information systems or human resources and compare these with the service delivery
  • How different parties in the health system (for example donors and in-country partners, or central and local government) should coordinate to share health system costs.

Current work

Alec is currently working with colleagues at the Yunnus Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University to develop a framework to help Scottish Health Boards make better decisions, combining economic, management science, ethical and legal perspectives. (Work funded by the Chief Scientist’s Office of the Scottish NHS).