Achieving high quality primary care is a key priority in nearly every OECD country, given increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses, quicker discharges from hospitals and rising public expectations of seamless, coordinated care.
Most health systems have developed a “primary level” of care whose functions include managing new health complaints that pose no immediate threat to life, managing long-term conditions and supporting the patient in deciding when referral to hospital-based services is necessary. Governments are increasingly stressing the importance of primary care as an alternative to expensive hospital care and are looking for ways to measure and improve the quality of the primary care sector.
Through the use of a structured expert review process, the HCQI project initially identified rates of avoidable admissions for long-term conditions and rates of lower limb amputation in diabetics as valid, internationally comparable indicators of the quality of primary care. Further indicators on the quality and safety of prescribing in primary care have subsequently been developed.
At present, primary care HCQI include:
The HCQI indicators are published within Health at a Glance 2015: Chapter 8 on Quality of Care.
Additional indicators are also available in the OECD Health Statistics database in the Health Care Quality Indicators dataset in OECD.Stat:
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