OECD Health Care Quality Reviews provide a toolkit to improve the quality of health care
OECD Health Care Quality Reviews seek to examine what works and what does not work in different countries – both to benchmark the efforts of countries and to provide advice on reforms to improve their health system. Korea is the first country to be reviewed. A report on Israel will be published in the third quarter of 2012, and will be followed by around eight additional country reports. Each report highlights best practices and offers recommendations for improvement. A final report on policies to drive improvements in health care quality across countries will be produced in 2014.
Why review health care quality policies?
- In 2009, OECD countries spent nearly a tenth of their GDP on health. As spending rises, there is pressure to ensure that resources help people live healthier lives.
- Most OECD countries have seen increased public interest in ensuring that patients receive care that is safe, effective, and responsive to their needs.
- OECD Health Care Quality Indicators show wide variations in quality across OECD countries, yet little is known about the policies that sit behind the numbers.
Some lessons learnt
- Korea’s substantial policy reforms over the past decades have equipped it with an ideal institutional architecture from which to pursue further reforms.
- Governments ought to take early action to develop primary care infrastructure and establish gate-keeping by primary care professionals.
- There are risks of oversupply of hospital services at the expense of quality. Strong budgetary or regulation on supply, and payments that reward providers for doing better rather than doing more are important to avoid this.
- Governments and purchasers should demand accountability for the quality of health care for the substantial payments they make to health care providers.
- Israel has a world class primary care system based on teams of professionals working in community clinics that are held to account by extensive data collection and strong after hours services.
- The government ought to address the relatively poor information on quality of care in hospitals by encouraging better hospital quality reporting and improvement programmes.
- Improving the flow of clinical information will help coordination between primary care and hospitals.
- Dedicated health programmes for the disadvantaged have helped address inequalities though renewed efforts are needed along with tackling the social determinants of health and avoiding further increases in co-payments.
- Denmark's impressive health care quality initiatives have been developed over more than 20 years; linkages across them must now be built so as to improve quality of the system as a whole, and not just focusing on individual initiatives.
- Special focus ought to be on measuring and maximising the contribution of the primary care sector, including on the co-ordination between the primary, secondary, and community care sector.
- To exploit the full potential of the hospital reform, Danish authorities should support the diffusion of good practices, strengthen pre-hospital care services and track data on individual physicians performance to stimulate continuous improvement by clinicians.
- Better use of data from quality registers and other rich data sets would help documenting the extent of inequalities in health and health care and would leave Denmark better equipped to address inequalities in health.
The country reports, published in English or French, are available below for download. All reports are also available on the OECD iLibrary.
Ms. Francesca Colombo (tel: +33 1 45 24 93 60 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Permanent URL: http://www.oecd.org/health/qualityreviews
Health Care Quality Indicators