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Geographic Variations in Health Care

What Do We Know and What Can Be Done to Improve Health System Performance?

Variations in health care use within a country are complicated. In some cases they may reflect differences in health needs, in patient preferences or in the diffusion of a therapeutic innovation; in others they may not. There is evidence that some of the observed variations are unwarranted, signalling under- or over-provision of health services, or both. This study documents geographic variations for high-cost and high-volume procedures in select OECD countries. It finds that there are wide variations not only across countries, but within them as well. A mix of patient preferences and physician practice styles likely play an important part in this, but what part of the observed variations reflects over-provision, or whether there are unmet needs, remain largely unexplained. This report helps policy makers better understand the issues and challenges around geographic variations in health care provision and considers the policy options.

Published on September 16, 2014

In series:OECD Health Policy Studiesview more titles

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword and Acknowledgements
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Geographic variations in health care use in 13 countries: A synthesis of findings
Australia: Geographic variations in health care
Belgium: Geographic variations in health care
Canada: Geographic variations in health care
Czech Republic: Geographic variations in health care
Finland: Geographic variations in health care
France: Geographic variations in health care
Germany: Geographic variations in health care
Israel: Geographic variations in health care
Italy: Geographic variations in health care
Portugal: Geographic variations in health care
Spain: Geographic variations in health care
Switzerland: Geographic variations in health care
United Kingdom (England): Geographic variations in health care
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