Award for degree project on freedom of choice in specialised healthcare

Published: 2019-09-09

What are the results of reforms, new funding methods and different control signals from politicians and authorities on healthcare? These are the questions that interest new alumnus Thea Enhörning Admarker. Now she has received an award from the Swedish Institute for Health Economics for her degree project with a focus on eye healthcare.

Photo: IHE

Why did you choose to write your degree project in health economics, more specifically on choice within specialised hospital care?

“Choice within specialised hospital care leads to increased competition in the sector and for non-profit organisations, this means they have to compete on quality. That is why I wanted to test whether quality actually improved. It is important to follow up on the effects of changes in healthcare in order to be able to prioritise what should be done in the future and which use of resources creates added value for patients.”

Was there anything in the results that surprised you?

“I was positively surprised by the fact that I did not find any evidence of ‘upcoding’ of patients. I was also surprised that increased quality was one of the clearest results from my study.” 

Do you see any potential for further research within the area you have studied?

“Absolutely. I only looked at one therapy area within specialised healthcare with a limited number of municipalities that employed the Act on System of Choice in the Public Sector (LOV). Further studies on LOV would need to be carried out in more therapy areas and with a larger number of municipalities to be able to draw any accurate conclusions on the effect of LOV on specialised hospital care.”

This is the second degree project award that you have taken home. You previously received the KEFU’s best degree project award. How does it feel to receive yet another award for a degree project you have written?

“Writing a degree project is the part of my education where, as a student, I have the freedom to do exactly what I want. To receive recognition for something that I have independently worked on so hard makes me incredibly proud.”

What do you think about the process of writing a degree project? Was any part particularly interesting, enjoyable or difficult?

“The hardest part was definitely deciding on a subject and issue. I contacted people who I knew were knowledgeable in healthcare to ‘pick their brains’ and that is how I discovered what I wanted to write about.” 

“The most enjoyable part was processing the data I had collected and applying the econometric methods I wanted to use. New problems always arise when you test your method and there were many frustrating hours of trial and error, but you find the solution in the end!”

The degree project: Does the Swedish specialized health care respond to competition inducing reforms? – Effects of the Freedom of Choice Act on quality, volume, efficiency and upcoding for elective patients

More information

Read more about IHE

Read more about the IHE degree project award (in Swedish)

Thea studied the Master’s programme in Economics at LUSEM.

Read all about the programme here