In this new interdisciplinary project, we will study healthcare delivery and ways to improve it using the notion of ‘social innovation’. Three broad (preliminary) research questions will be leading in this project:

  • How can suppliers of healthcare be stimulated to provide high quality healthcare delivery?
  • How can certain groups of patients – such as people with low health literacy – be stimulated to take active part in healthcare delivery?
  • How can social innovations in healthcare be effectively regulated?

Social innovation can be broadly defined as new developments that aim to address societal needs by changing the relationships between involved stakeholders. For instance, social innovations can be aimed at targeting suppliers of healthcare. An example would be lowering the degree of ‘defensive medicine’ by general practitioners: deviating from sound medical practice because of malpractice liability threats. Social innovations can also be developed to improve the ‘demand’ side. For instance, social innovations can be developed to improve access to healthcare for disadvantaged groups, such as immigrants or people with low health literacy.

To answer these questions, we will connect the currently separate streams of literature from public administration (including coproduction, social innovation, behavioral public administration), law (human rights, rule of law values) and economics (collective action and entrepreneurship). In terms of methods the postdoc will use a) systematic reviews to analyze the state of the field and b) conduct field experiments (Randomized Control Trials) to analyze potential ways to strengthen equal and fair healthcare delivery.

Postdoc dr. Jelena Arsenijevic will be working on this project. She will work in an interdisciplinary team with prof. dr. Albert Meijer (Utrecht University School of Governance), dr. Niels Bosma (Utrecht University School of Economics) and dr. Lucky Belder (Utrecht University School of Law). prof. dr. Sebastiaan Princen and dr. Lars Tummers (Utrecht University School of Governance) will be supervising the project.


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