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Although increasing, life expectancy in the Czech Republic, at 78.3 years, was still below the OECD average of 80.5 years in 2013. The Czech Republic presents above average levels of risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol consumption and obesity. To cope with the expected rise in chronic diseases, the Czech Republic will have to shift care from the hospital sector and strengthen preventive health care.
This book presents a comprehensive review of health care quality in the Czech Republic. It finds that over the past 20 years, the Czech Republic witnessed the unprecedented gains in quality of health care and life expectancy and successfully transferred its Semaschko system into the modern accessible health care system with private-public mix of providers. Nevertheless the health care system in the Czech Republic still has some way to go to achieve the outcomes of the best performing OECD members. While some of the gap might be caused by the one of the lowest levels of health care expenditures among OECD countries (7.2% GDP in 2011) there are possibilities to improve the outcomes without incurring much of the additional costs.
The Czech authorities should reach a consensus on the development of quality of care and data infrastructure and aim for sustainable long-term initiatives undisturbed by the political cycles in both of these areas. While the adverse events reporting and voluntary accreditation are the good steps towards the accountability of the providers, the government should do more in this area, undertake the effort to broaden the accreditation process and include outpatient care and link public health authorities to the quality agenda of inpatient care. In the area of data infrastructure more data should be gathered, the process of data gathering should be streamlined and administrative burden for the providers lowered primarily via the merging the data-collecting agencies. Finally, without the active participation of health insurance funds and proper reimbursement mechanisms in place the quality agenda will not be perceived as the priority.
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