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Health and social care management and policy

Contact Bocconi University for this project

Francesco Longo
Associate Professor
Department for Institutional Analysis and Public Management
Director of CERGAS-Bocconi Research Centre on Health and Social Care Issues
Bocconi University
Viale Isonzo 23, 20135 Milan, Italy

Bocconi University

The mission of CERGAS is to create actionable knowledge to improve healthcare systems. About 30 researchers work under the assumption that there are some peculiarities of healthcare organisations that make them different from those operating in other major sectors. These peculiarities include the complexity of the knowledge involved in the production of health services, uncertainty of intervention outcomes and the major role that health has in people┐s lives and expectations.

As a results of these basic features of health care, understanding how professionals and organisations behave and how they are influenced by policy making are the central concern of positive theoretical research undertaken by CERGAS. At the same time, CERGAS fully recognizes that knowledge is more valuable if it is translated into recommended actions. Consequently, basic (positive) research is accompanied by normative studies that focus on whether and how governance models and management models fit the objective of improving the performance of healthcare organisations and systems.

Main CERGAS research strands are the following:
1. Effectiveness of management systems in healthcare and social care organizations.
2. Evaluation of national and regional health and social care polices.
3. Comparative international health policies.
4. Performance measurement systems.
5. Impact of evidence-based medicine on management and policy.
6. Health technology assessment.
7. Pharmaceutical policies.

Major research questions presently under investigation at CERGAS are as follow:
1. What is the impact of ageing, technologic innovation and consumers┐ tastes on financial sustainability of health care systems? What new funding and institutional arrangements can improve long-term sustainability?
2. What is the impact of Evidence-based management (EBM) on policy and management practices? Can EBM serve to improve organizational and social accountability?
3. How can integration between primary and hospital care be fostered through innovative organizational structures and management systems?
4. Can healthcare organizations and policy bodies learn from others┐ experience? How can learning processes be improved at national and international level?
5. What is the contribution of Health Technologic Assessment to effectiveness and efficiency? How can research be better implemented through the contribution of management systems?
6. Can public and private providers compete in the same competitive arena? Do institutional and governance models provide different organizational and professional behaviours in health and social care?

CERGAS researchers use the modern tools of management, economics, accounting, organizational research and policy analysis to better understand how welfare systems work at the micro and macro levels, and how to improve them through innovative and evidence-based solutions. Researchers use quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct their studies.

Relevance to future of European societies
The difficulties in building up a social union in Europe are known and well investigated. Anyway, the Commission is increasing its set of activities in the field of healthcare (mobility of patients, pharmaceuticals, worker mobility, care for tourists or migrants) and, more importantly, systematic comparison of practices are increasingly seen as a major device to improve performance and to facilitate dissemination of best practices. Promoting more systematic research at European level on health and social care can provide relevant benefits to EU and domestic policy. EU research in health and policy fields is specially lacking attention to micro phenomena as such as governance systems of providers, performance measurement, and organizational models.
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