Imperial College Business School Professor Receives Internationally Acclaimed Healthcare Research Award

New Delhi: A professor at Imperial College Business School has received a prestigious award for her research examining reform in health economics within the NHS.

Professor Carol Propper, along with academics from Carnegie Mellon University Stanford University, is the recipient of the Arrow Award, given by the International Health Economics Association’s (iHEA), which recognises excellence in the field of health economics.

Her paper “Free to Choose? Reform, choice and consideration sets in the English National Health Service (NHS)”, was judged the best health economics paper published in 2016. In it, the researchers demonstrated that allowing for competition between healthcare providers by permitting patients to choose where they could receive care significantly increased hospital performance.

The study was based upon the resulting impact of a 2006 reform which enabled patients in England to decide from at least five alternatives on where they could receive inpatient care. The researchers used this reform to reveal that once restrictions on where patients were treated were lifted, and hospitals were required to compete for patients, the quality of care and patient welfare increased, with the largest improvement for severely ill and low-income patients.

Not only did the quality of healthcare they offered improve but also hospital standards in general, such as reducing waste. Most importantly, the introduction of choice and competition could save lives.

Professor Propper joined Imperial College Business School as Professor of Economics and Head of the Health Management Group in 2007, and was formerly a senior economic adviser to the NHS. During her career she has undertaken a wide range of public service roles including; Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) research grants board, and a member of the ESRC Council.

In 2010, Professor Propper received a CBE for her services to social science and, in 2014, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

At Imperial, she holds a Chair in Economics in the Business School, and focuses her research on the use of markets and financial incentives to improve delivery of healthcare, and other public services. She also works with the Business School’s Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation, which focuses its research efforts on the effects on health of people’s changing lifestyles, as well as the impact of business and government policies which are designed to promote healthier lifestyles.

Upon receiving the Arrow Award, Professor Propper said,

“I’m delighted to receive this recognition. Our work has shed new light on the value of allowing patients to choose where they have their healthcare.”

Professor Franco Sassi, Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation says,

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of Carol’s (Professor Propper’s) and her co-authors’ ability to produce findings that can improve health policies worldwide, by analysing the complexities and impact of health market reform in England.”

The iHEA Arrow Award, now in its 25th year, was set up in honour of US economist and Nobel Prize winner Professor Kenneth Arrow, and presents two awards annually – the Arrow Award which recognises excellence in health economics and a Student Prize for the best paper by a Masters or Doctoral student.