In many ways, primary care in Denmark performs well. Danish primary care is trusted and valued by patients, and is relatively inexpensive. But there are important areas where it needs to be strengthened. Most critically, Danish primary care is relatively opaque in terms of the performance data available at local level. Greater transparency is vital in the next phase of reform and sector strengthening.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.
This review of health care quality in Denmark examines policies related to quality and includes chapters covering primary and integrated care, hospital specialisation and equity. It finds that with a dense array of disease- and service-focused quality initiatives, and with information on the quality of care stored in separate data repositories, Denmark needs to create effective links and synergies between them to drive up quality in the healthcare system as a whole, rather than in disconnected elements.
Primary care will be central in meeting Denmark’s future healthcare challenges of an ageing population with multiple chronic conditions. Therefore, an urgent need is to create a national vision of how a modernised primary care sector will fulfill this new coordination role. National standards, clinical guidelines, accreditation of clinical pathways and targeted financial incentive programmes could support this role, along with more transparent and formalised continual professional development.
To facilitate quality improvement from the ambitious hospital rationalisation, Denmark should collect and disseminate data on the quality of individual physicians as well as the hospitals. Undergraduate training and medical research should be reviewed in light of the new service arrangements. Close surveillance will be needed to monitor whether certain patient groups forego healthcare because travel times to providers are too long. Limited data availability complicate Denmark’s ability to monitor its commitment to equitable healthcare. There is an urgent need for renewed action to tackle risk factors of chronic ill-health that disproportionately affect low-income groups. Better information on the impact of user-charges on unmet need in low-income groups is needed.
The Danish central government and regions are leading international efforts to reform hospital systems, improving quality and safety by gathering specialists into major hospitals and closing smaller ones.
Across OECD countries some 83 million people suffer from diabetes. On current trends, that will rise to almost 100 million by 2030.