The unity of diversity: An anthropological look at the implementation processes of the value-based healthcare model

Costa, J. C. P. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The implementation of the value-based healthcare model (VBHC) promises to bring efficiency and sustainability to national health systems. The model redraws the whole logic of systems operability and proposes that budgets positively discriminate the institutions that produce the most value for the patient. To this end, the authors of the model understand 'value for thee patient' as a statistically measured relationship between treatment outcomes and expected and desired care by the patient and the money both them and the system spend to achieve them.
In this presentation, I propose to critically analyse the exercise of standardization of the sense of value in health by designers and implementers of the VBHC model. Starting from concrete examples that demonstrate the existence of tensions between the universality of the sense of value defended by these actors and the diversity of the meanings of value reported by patients, I explore the advantage of using some central concepts and theories of the anthropology of value to analyse these tensions, such as Louis Dumont's notions of 'systems of ideas' and 'hierarchy of value', or Michael Lambek’s 'performative acts of value', or the 'payment requirement' principle, stressed by Alain Testart as the foundation of market economy practices of exchanging goods and services.
Period28 Jul 202031 Jul 2020
Held atAIBR - Antropólogos Iberoamericanos en Red, Spain
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • value-based health care
  • anthropology of value
  • systems of ideas
  • performative acts
  • payment requirement