Public engagement in setting healthcare priorities: A ranking exercise in Cyprus

Antonis Farmakas, Mamas Theodorou, Petros Galanis, Georgios Karayiannis, Stefanos Ghobrial, Nikos Polyzos, Evridiki Papastavrou, Eirini Agapidaki, Kyriakos Souliotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In countries such as Cyprus the financial crisis and the recession have severely affected the funding and priority setting of the health care system. There is evidence highlighting the importance of population' preferences in designing priorities for health care settings. Although public preferences have been thorough analysed in many countries, there is a research gap in terms of simultaneously investigating the relative importance and the weight of differing and competing criteria for determining healthcare priority settings. The main objective of the study was to investigate public preferences for the relative utility and weight of differing and competing criteria for health care priority setting in Cyprus. Methods: The 'conjoint analysis' technique was applied to develop a ranking exercise. The aim of the study was to identify the preferences of the participants for alternative options. Participants were asked to grade in a priority order 16 hypothetical case scenarios of patients with different disease and of diverse socio-economic characteristics awaiting treatment. The sample was purposive and consisted of 100 Cypriots, selected from public locations all over the country. Results: It was revealed that the "severity of the disease" and the "age of the patient" were the key prioritization criteria. Participants assigned the smallest relative value to the criterion "healthy lifestyle". More precisely, participants older than 35years old assigned higher relative importance to "age", while younger participants to the "severity of the disease". The "healthy lifestyle" criterion was assigned to the lowest relative importance to by all participants. Conclusion: In Cyprus, public participation in health care priority setting is almost inexistent. Nonetheless, it seems that the public's participation in this process could lead to a wider acceptance of the healthcare system especially as a result of the financial crisis and the upcoming reforms implemented such as the establishment of the General System of Health Insurance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2017


  • Health policy
  • Healthcare priority setting
  • Public participation
  • Resources allocation


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