Health policies and data

Issue No. 16: March 2013


Health Update

March 2013
News about OECD work on health


Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector - What Works?

This book provides a framework to understand why there are waiting lists for elective surgery in some OECD countries and not in others. From reviews of the experience in 13 OECD countries, we now know which policies can be successful in reducing waiting times.

The OECD Mental Health and Work Project. New 2013 publications

The new series of reports is looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries.

To date, reviews of Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have been released and reviews of Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are planned over 2013-14.

Strengthening Health Information Infrastructure for Health Care Quality Governance

(release on 2 April)

The delicate balance between protecting patient confidentiality and gathering the data necessary to improve health systems means that only half of OECD countries regularly monitor health care quality by studying patients’ healthcare history. OECD recommends that, as countries reform their privacy protection rules, they remember that patients’ health care data is critical to the healthcare statistics and research that can improve the quality of health care and improve health.

Managing Hospital Volumes - analyses and policy options

Conference in Berlin, Germany on April 11, 2013

The workload of doctors and nurses in German hospitals is constantly increasing. Studies have concluded that this cannot be solely explained by demographic development and medical progress, but is instead partly due to economic incentives. Moreover, this trend is not unique to Germany, but shared by many other OECD countries. The OECD and the German Federal Ministry of Health will analyse the causes of this increase both within Germany and beyond and will present policy responses from selected OECD countries to help provide new approaches to limiting the trend.


OECD Health Working Paper No. 60 - Health Spending Growth at Zero: Which Countries, Which Sectors Are Most Affected?

This paper analyses the recent slowdown in health expenditure, which saw an OECD average of zero growth in 2010, by examining which countries and which sectors of spending have been the most affected. The paper explains further the country differences by looking at policy measures put in place since the onset of the global economic crisis and, using preliminary data and examples of more recent measures taken, looks beyond 2010 to more recent trends.

View the paper

OECD Health Working Paper No. 61 - International Variations in a Selected Number of Surgical Procedures

This paper presents international comparisons of rates of five surgical procedures (i.e. caesarean, hysterectomy, prostatectomy, hip replacement and appendectomy) in OECD countries. It examines trends over time and compares age- and sex-specific rates for a sub-set of countries.

View the paper

For the full list of Health Working Papers:

OECD Health Working Papers - coming soon

- Pharmaceuticals: Paying for Value - (April)

- Trends and Social Disparities in Alcohol Consumption (forthcoming)

- The use of fiscal policies for health promotion (forthcoming)

- For a full list of OECD Health Working Papers see:

Publications coming soon

- OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Denmark (29 April). Further reading on quality reviews:

- A Good Life in Old Age? Monitoring and Improving Quality in Long-Term Care (17 June). Further reading on the Long-Term Care project:

Health Brochure 2013-2014

A new brochure presents the main components of OECD Work on Health for 2013-2014 and lists all recent and forthcoming major publications and databases.
See also the Employment, Migration and Social Policy Newsletter


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