Informal Patient Payments and Bought and Brought Goods in the Western Balkans: A Scoping Review

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Abstract

Informal payments for healthcare are common in the Western Balkans, although these payments negatively affect public health and health care. To identify literature from the Western Balkans on what is known about informal payments and bought and brought goods, to examine their effects on healthcare and to determine what actions can be taken to tackle this problem. After conducting a scoping review that involved searching websites and databases and filtering with eligibility criteria and quality assessment tools, 24 relevant studies were revealed. The data were synthesized using a narrative approach that identified key concepts, types of evidence, and research gaps. The number of studies of informal payments increased between 2002 and 2015, but evidence regarding the issues of concern is scattered across various countries. Research has reported incidents of informal payments on a wide scale and has described various patterns and characteristics of these payments. Although these payments have typically been small – particularly to providers in common areas of specialized medicine – evidence regarding bought and brought goods remains limited, indicating that such practices are likely even more common, of greater magnitude and more problematic than informal payments. Only scant research has examined the measures that are used to tackle informal payments and corruption. The evidence indicates that legalizing informal payments, introducing performance-based payment systems, strengthening reporting, changing mentalities and involving the media and the EU or religious organizations in anti-corruption campaigns are understood as some of the possible remedies that might help reduce informal payments. Despite comprehensive evidence regarding informal payments, data remain scattered and contradictory, implying that informal payments are a complex phenomenon. Additionally, the data on bought and brought goods illustrate that not much is known about this matter. Although informal payments have been studied and described in several settings, there is still little research on the effectiveness of such strategies in the Western Balkans context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalInternational Journal of Health Policy and Management
Volume6
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)621-637
ISSN2322-5939
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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title = "Informal Patient Payments and Bought and Brought Goods in the Western Balkans: A Scoping Review",
abstract = "Informal payments for healthcare are common in the Western Balkans, although these payments negatively affect public health and health care. To identify literature from the Western Balkans on what is known about informal payments and bought and brought goods, to examine their effects on healthcare and to determine what actions can be taken to tackle this problem. After conducting a scoping review that involved searching websites and databases and filtering with eligibility criteria and quality assessment tools, 24 relevant studies were revealed. The data were synthesized using a narrative approach that identified key concepts, types of evidence, and research gaps. The number of studies of informal payments increased between 2002 and 2015, but evidence regarding the issues of concern is scattered across various countries. Research has reported incidents of informal payments on a wide scale and has described various patterns and characteristics of these payments. Although these payments have typically been small – particularly to providers in common areas of specialized medicine – evidence regarding bought and brought goods remains limited, indicating that such practices are likely even more common, of greater magnitude and more problematic than informal payments. Only scant research has examined the measures that are used to tackle informal payments and corruption. The evidence indicates that legalizing informal payments, introducing performance-based payment systems, strengthening reporting, changing mentalities and involving the media and the EU or religious organizations in anti-corruption campaigns are understood as some of the possible remedies that might help reduce informal payments. Despite comprehensive evidence regarding informal payments, data remain scattered and contradictory, implying that informal payments are a complex phenomenon. Additionally, the data on bought and brought goods illustrate that not much is known about this matter. Although informal payments have been studied and described in several settings, there is still little research on the effectiveness of such strategies in the Western Balkans context.",
author = "{Buch Mejsner}, Sofie and {Eklund Karlsson}, Leena",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.15171/ijhpm.2017.73",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "621--637",
journal = "International Journal of Health Policy and Management",
issn = "2322-5939",
publisher = "Kerman University of Medical Sciences",
number = "11",

}

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AU - Buch Mejsner, Sofie

AU - Eklund Karlsson, Leena

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Informal payments for healthcare are common in the Western Balkans, although these payments negatively affect public health and health care. To identify literature from the Western Balkans on what is known about informal payments and bought and brought goods, to examine their effects on healthcare and to determine what actions can be taken to tackle this problem. After conducting a scoping review that involved searching websites and databases and filtering with eligibility criteria and quality assessment tools, 24 relevant studies were revealed. The data were synthesized using a narrative approach that identified key concepts, types of evidence, and research gaps. The number of studies of informal payments increased between 2002 and 2015, but evidence regarding the issues of concern is scattered across various countries. Research has reported incidents of informal payments on a wide scale and has described various patterns and characteristics of these payments. Although these payments have typically been small – particularly to providers in common areas of specialized medicine – evidence regarding bought and brought goods remains limited, indicating that such practices are likely even more common, of greater magnitude and more problematic than informal payments. Only scant research has examined the measures that are used to tackle informal payments and corruption. The evidence indicates that legalizing informal payments, introducing performance-based payment systems, strengthening reporting, changing mentalities and involving the media and the EU or religious organizations in anti-corruption campaigns are understood as some of the possible remedies that might help reduce informal payments. Despite comprehensive evidence regarding informal payments, data remain scattered and contradictory, implying that informal payments are a complex phenomenon. Additionally, the data on bought and brought goods illustrate that not much is known about this matter. Although informal payments have been studied and described in several settings, there is still little research on the effectiveness of such strategies in the Western Balkans context.

AB - Informal payments for healthcare are common in the Western Balkans, although these payments negatively affect public health and health care. To identify literature from the Western Balkans on what is known about informal payments and bought and brought goods, to examine their effects on healthcare and to determine what actions can be taken to tackle this problem. After conducting a scoping review that involved searching websites and databases and filtering with eligibility criteria and quality assessment tools, 24 relevant studies were revealed. The data were synthesized using a narrative approach that identified key concepts, types of evidence, and research gaps. The number of studies of informal payments increased between 2002 and 2015, but evidence regarding the issues of concern is scattered across various countries. Research has reported incidents of informal payments on a wide scale and has described various patterns and characteristics of these payments. Although these payments have typically been small – particularly to providers in common areas of specialized medicine – evidence regarding bought and brought goods remains limited, indicating that such practices are likely even more common, of greater magnitude and more problematic than informal payments. Only scant research has examined the measures that are used to tackle informal payments and corruption. The evidence indicates that legalizing informal payments, introducing performance-based payment systems, strengthening reporting, changing mentalities and involving the media and the EU or religious organizations in anti-corruption campaigns are understood as some of the possible remedies that might help reduce informal payments. Despite comprehensive evidence regarding informal payments, data remain scattered and contradictory, implying that informal payments are a complex phenomenon. Additionally, the data on bought and brought goods illustrate that not much is known about this matter. Although informal payments have been studied and described in several settings, there is still little research on the effectiveness of such strategies in the Western Balkans context.

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