This new OECD series aims to highlight the latest data in selected countries, to explain their health care systems and to provide key information in a clear and concise way. Each country snapshot highlights the most pertinent issues, be it smoking, obesity, surgical interventions, consumption of antibiotics, physicians density, etc., with the help of key statistics and are followed by brief policy recommendations.
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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.
Latest estimates point to slowly rising health spending growth, according to OECD Health Statistics 2016. While health spending growth remains somewhat below pre-crisis rates, it has tended to follow economic growth more closely since 2013. This is in contrast to the years leading up to the economic crisis, when growth in health spending strongly outpaced that in the rest of the economy.
The OECD Health Division is releasing a new series to highlight its work on health policies and data. A new graph will be available each month.
The OECD carries out work on health data and indicators to improve international comparisons and economic analyses of health systems.
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The German health system is characterised by high levels of human and physical resources guaranteeing good access to care with a low direct financial burden for patients. Nevertheless, the changing demographic situation with a rapidly ageing society creating new demand for health services will pose a challenge for Germany’s health system.
Health workers are crucial for ensuring access to high quality care for the whole population. The OECD advises countries on how to meet future demand for health professionals and how to manage the supply of health workers, by reviewing policies related to education and training, continuous professional development, geographic distribution and immigration.
How health providers are paid is one of the key policy levers that countries have to drive health system performance. The 2012 HSC Survey analyses the payment modes currently in use in OECD countries to remunerate primary care, outpatient specialist care and inpatient care, the price regulations for health services and identifies new innovative modes of payments in more detail.
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Denmark has a strong and high-performing healthcare system. However, challenges remain when it comes to primary care and prevention. Harmful alcohol consumption and rising overweight and obesity rates among adults suggest a need for targeted public health policies in Denmark.
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The Netherlands has seen remarkable improvements in the health of its population but also faces several challenges. The burden of cardiovascular diseases has declined but cancer prevalence is relatively high. Financial sustainability is of concern, while reforms in mental and long-term care that aim to improve efficiency must be monitored carefully.