Priority setting in kidney transplantation: A qualitative study evaluating Swedish practices
2013 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 41, no 2, 206-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Kidney transplantation is the established treatment of choice for end-stage renal disease; it increases survival, and quality of life, while being more cost effective than dialysis. It is, however, limited by the scarcity of kidneys. The aim of this paper is to investigate the fairness of the priority setting process underpinning Swedish kidney transplantation in reference to the Accountability for Reasonableness (A4R) framework. To achieve this, two significant stages of the process influencing access to transplantation are examined: assessment for transplant candidacy, and allocation of kidneys from deceased donors.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were the main source of data collection. Fifteen Interviewees included transplant surgeons, nephrologists, and transplant coordinators representing centers nationwide. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interviews, with the Accountability for Reasonableness framework serving as an analytical lens.
Results: Decision-making both in the assessment and allocation stages are based on clusters of factors that belong to one of three levels: patient, professional, and the institutional levels. The factors appeal to values such as maximizing benefit, priority to the worst off, and equal treatment which are traded off.
Discussion and Conclusions: The factors described in this paper and the values on which they rest on the most part satisfy the relevance condition of the accountability for reasonableness framework. There are however two potential sources for unequal treatment which we have identified: clinical judgment and institutional policies relating both to assessment and allocation. The appeals mechanisms are well developed and supported nationally which help to offset differences between centers. There is room for improvement in the areas of publicity and enforcement. The development of explicit national guidelines for assessing transplant candidacy and the creation of a central kidney allocation system would contribute to standardize practices across centers; and in the process help to better meet the conditions of fairness in reference to the A4R. The benefits of these policy proposals in the Swedish kidney transplant system merit serious consideration.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 41, no 2, 206-215 p.
Ethics, fairness, kidney transplantation, priority setting, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-71309DOI: 10.1177/1403494812470399ISI: 000315233100014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-71309DiVA: diva2:447220