Picture credit: Benjamin Hunter
People face difficult decisions when they try to access healthcare, yet they often lack reliable information with which to make those decisions. Many people instead rely on their previous experiences, advice from friends and family, and direction from doctors. These situations provide profitable opportunities for intermediaries to guide how people use healthcare.
We examine how systems of mediation – or ‘brokerage’ – emerge in the healthcare sector and the brokerage activities that people perform. Our work considers the personal strategies used to consolidate and extend brokerage roles, and the implications for how people seek healthcare. A template for our approach is set out in a recent paper on healthcare brokerage in urban slum communities in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Currently, we are conducting a Wellcome Trust-funded study of formalised healthcare brokerage in Delhi and London. The project looks at the origins and evolution of commercial brokerage in these settings, and the strategies for promoting and consolidating demand for brokerage.
Hunter, BM. (2018) Brokerage in commercialised healthcare systems: A conceptual framework and empirical evidence from Uttar Pradesh. Social Science & Medicine, 202:128-135