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The health system in Spain stands out for its impressive life gains during the past decades. Across OECD countries, Spain currently ranks second in terms of life expectancy at birth and at 65 years old, only behind Japan. However, factors such as a high share of out of pocket spending or a relatively low level of health professionals continue to impair higher health system performance.
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Despite financial strains, Portugal has shown a great level of commitment towards improving the quality and efficiency of its health system while maintaining a universal public system. However, although progress has been achieved, certain areas demand further scrutiny such as access to health care services – especially among the most vulnerable population – quality of care, healthier lifestyles and the long-term care system.
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Latvia’s health system broadly delivers effective care to the population within a context of significantly fewer resources compared to most OECD countries. However, there are important challenges to maintain and improve the performance of its health system.
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Japan continues to enjoy strong health outcomes and the longest life expectancies in the OECD. Its health spending has risen more quickly than in other OECD countries in recent years, partly due to population ageing. Within tight fiscal constraints, Japan must ensure the financial sustainability of its health system while orienting it toward an increasingly older population.
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The Luxembourg health care system achieves good results relatively efficiently. Luxembourg is, however, lagging behind other OECD countries with high volume of antibiotics prescribed and high rates of avoidable hospital admissions. Population ageing and increasing risk factors are other important challenges that demand further scrutiny.
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The Austrian health system generally provides good access to health care services through a relatively high degree of human and physical resources. However, primary care could be strengthened in order to avoid unnecessary hospitalisations and a stronger focus on mental ill-health is needed. Efforts are also required to prevent the spread of risk factors such as harmful alcohol and tobacco consumption.
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The Estonian health system has relatively high numbers of doctors, hospital beds and medical services, in spite of modest levels of financial resources for health (6% of GDP in 2014). The outcomes are however mixed compared to other OECD countries.
The objective of the HCQI Project is to develop a set of indicators based on comparable data and which can be used to raise questions for further investigation on quality differences across countries.
A System of Health Accounts 2011: Revised Edition provides an updated and systematic description of the financial flows related to the consumption of health care goods and services. As demands for information increase and more countries implement and institutionalise health accounts according to the system, the data produced are expected to be more comparable, more detailed and more policy relevant. It builds on the original OECD Manual, published in 2000, and the Guide to Producing National Health Accounts to create a single global framework for producing health expenditure accounts that can help track resource flows from sources to uses. It is the result of a collaborative effort between the OECD, WHO and the European Commission, and sets out in more detail the boundaries, the definitions and the concepts – responding to health care systems around the globe – from the simplest to the more complicated.
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