How Do Allied Health Professionals Define and Apply Equity When Making Resource Allocation Decisions?

Haylee Lane, Tamica Sturgess, Kathleen Philip, Donna Markham, Jill Walsh, Wendy Hubbard, Jennifer Martin, Terry Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


An ethnographic study was conducted in 2 stages to understand how allied health professionals define and apply equity when making resource allocation decisions. Participants were allied health managers and clinicians from Victoria, Australia. Stage 1 included 4 semi-structured forums that incorporated real-life case studies, group discussions, and hypothetical scenarios. The project’s steering committee began a thematic analysis during post-forum discussions. Stage 2 included a key stakeholder working party that further discussed the concept of equity. The forum recordings were transcribed verbatim, and a detailed thematic analysis ensured the initial thematic analysis was complete. Several domains of equity were discussed. Participants would readily identify that equity was a consideration when making resource decisions but were generally silent for a prolonged period when prompted to identify what they meant when using this term. The findings indicate that asking allied health professionals to directly state how they define and apply equity to their decision-making could be too difficult a task, as this did not elicit rich and meaningful discussions. Future research should examine individual domains of equity when applied to resource allocation decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-364
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • allied health
  • decision making
  • equity
  • priority setting
  • resource allocation

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