Meeting guidelines

This page provides all the information needed for a successful HESG meeting. All members should be familiar with these guidelines.

Meeting format

HESG meetings are intended for health economists rather than more generally for people interested in health economics. Although the group has an academic function – the creation and transmission of knowledge and ideas – its members work in commercial, academic and government settings and its concerns are applied and policy orientated as well as theoretical.

The HESG meetings have a distinctive style and feel, attempting to maintain a study group atmosphere despite large numbers. All papers are pre-circulated and discussed in hour-long sessions using discussants rather than author presentations. The range of papers reflects the current balance of work, the largest categories being economic evaluation, health outcome measurement and the finance and organisation of health care. However, every meeting has papers on other recognisably traditional economics subjects such as consumer demand, industry behaviour (particularly hospitals and pharmaceutical companies) and behaviour of the labour market. HESG welcomes people from a variety of backgrounds at our meetings, but they are intended for economists and its ‘working language’ is economics.

Instructions to authors

The format of the Health Economists’ Study Group – pre-circulated papers with discussants rather than authors presenting their own work – requires a set of procedures which must be closely followed if the sessions, and the meeting as a whole, are to be successful. An important part of this procedure is the rules for production and distribution of papers, which will be strictly applied. These cover the size of papers and the timetable for their distribution.

We have restrictions on the size of papers, partly because of the implications for the cost of printing but more importantly to give the discussant and other participants the opportunity to read the papers. The restrictions are no more than 20 A4 pages (including tables) and no more than 7,500 words.

For illustration, the word limit fits the page limit using one and a half spaced 12-point proportionally- spaced font or typeface with 1″ (2.5cm) all-around margins and a reasonable number of paragraphs and headings. Appendices will be accepted only for details of questionnaires and not for additional tables or other material. Any papers going beyond these limits will be sent back to authors and excluded from the meeting unless reduced to fit.

Second, each meeting has deadlines for distribution that must be kept. Please submit a PDF version of your paper no later than the advertised deadline. Distribution of papers at the meeting is not consistent with HESG philosophy and will not be permitted.

Meeting procedure

The following rules will operate at HESG meetings:

  1. It will be assumed that those who are attending a session will have read the paper or papers being discussed in it.
  2. Authors will not read, summarise or even introduce their papers.
  3. Each session will begin with the discussant’s comments. Discussants will have a maximum of 20 minutes, including a brief summary of the paper.
  4. Authors may then have a maximum of 5 minutes, but only to clear up misunderstandings, not to reply to the discussant’s points.
  5. General discussion follows, moderated by the chair. Authors and discussants may take part, but should exercise restraint. In particular, authors should not engage in a ‘question and answer’ session with those raising points.
  6. The discussant and the author, in that order, may speak for 5 minutes at the end if they wish.

Discussants should:

  • be constructively helpful to authors,
  • if possible, construct an agenda that will guide the general discussion during the session.

Chairs should:

  • ensure that the procedural rules are adhered to. Their purpose is to minimise unproductive use of time and maximise participation,
  • when opening the discussion to everyone, ask speakers to state who they are and where they come from, make sure everyone can hear the question, if not ask the speaker to stand,
  • not allow anyone to monopolise the discussion, unless no-one else wants to speak,
  • ensure that the discussion is not a question and answer session, preventing authors from responding to every point as it is made, unless there is not much participation from others,
  • consider meeting with the discussant and author beforehand in order to create a good structure for the discussion,
  • if a good structure has been prepared, and speakers raise points at an inappropriate time, ask them to raise them later,
  • not ask questions when other people wish to do so, and should prefer speakers from the audience rather than the chance to speak themselves,
  • end a session early if it seems that there is no more to be said.