International comparisions of health prices and volumes

Cross-country variation in health expenditure may be the result of differences in the prices of goods and services or differences in the volume of care, or a mix of both. Separating health spending into volume and price measures helps policy makers better understand the drivers of cross-country variations, and helps them decide what policy responses should be put in place to address health spending trends. Such policies may differ if, for example, a country’s high health care spending is due to relatively high volume of goods and services consumed or to the relatively high price a country pays for those goods or services.

The OECD have recently published new findings on these international comparisons.

To download the document on International comparisons of health prices and volumes from the oecd.org website

Integrated care for people with multi-morbidity

Some 50 million Europeans live with multi-morbidity and their numbers are likely to grow. As they have complex health problems and need ongoing care, policymakers are alarmed by the challenge this poses to their health systems and social services.

The ICARE4EU project has looked at new approaches to integrated care  and its findings are shared in five policy briefs:

  • How to improve care for people with multi-morbidity?
  • How to strengthen patient-centredness in caring for people with multi-morbidity
  • How to strengthen financing mechanisms to promote care for people with multi-morbidity
  • How can eHealth improve care for people with multi-morbidity
  • How to support integration to promote care for people with multi-morbidity

To read more about the project and download the five policy briefs on caring for people with multi-morbidity from the euro.who.int website

25 Years of Protecting our Health

Since 1992 when the Maastricht Treaty specifically stated that ‘The community shall contribute towards ensuring a high level of human health protection’ the EU has been protecting our health.

It has helped national governments to make healthcare more accessible and efficient, provided scientific advice and data, financed local and cross-border health projects and promoted investments in innovation, research and training.

Current challenges include:

  • Guaranteeing accessible, efficient and resilient healthcare
  • Investing more in innovation, research and eHealth
  • Tackling antimicrobial resistance
  • Promoting innovative health products and technologies
  • Preparing for new global health threats

To download the infographic on 25 years of protecting our health from the ec.europa.eu website

The economics of patient safety

The latest report in the OECD’s series ‘Better policies for better health’ is “The Economics of Patient Safety: strengthening a value-based approach to reducing patient harm at national level”.

It makes the point that a principal objective of health care is to do no harm and to ensure that the benefits of treatment outweigh its deleterious effects. However, unnecessary harm to patients has been part of health care for as long as medicine has been practiced and continues to occur. In recent decades a greater research focus has examined and quantified the extent and costs of patient safety failure across countries and healthcare settings. The increasing complexity of health care also means a higher risk of harm requiring greater vigilance, focus and investment to ensure care is as safe and effective as possible.This report:

  • estimates the cost of patient harm
  • outlines a strategy for policy-makers and healthcare leaders to improve patient safety with limited resources.

To download the full report on the Economics of Patient Safety from the oecd.org website

Harnessing big data for health

The latest edition of the Eurohealth Observer includes articles on:

  • connecting the dots: putting big data to work for health systems
  • big data for better outcomes: supporting health care system transformation in Europe
  • the Trump Administration launches health law changes into heavy seas
  • what does Brexit mean for health in the UK

To download the publication on Big data and health systems from the euro.who.int website

The Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes

The Innov8 technical handbook is a user-friendly resource as part of the Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes to leave no one behind. It gives detailed guidance and exercise sheets for each of the 8 steps of analysis that comprise the review process and includes background readings, country examples and analytical activities.

For more information and to download the handbook on the Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programes from the who.int website

Patient blood management

A 5-year Patient Blood Management (PBM) programme in Western Australia resulted in a 28% reduction in hospital mortality, a 15% reduction in average hospital length of stay, a 21% reduction in hospital-acquired infections and a 31% decrease in heart attack or stroke. There was also a 41% reduction in the use of blood products, leading to a substantial cost saving as well.

PBM is a patient-focused, evidence-based and systemic approach to improve patient outcomes through the safe and rational use of blood and blood products and avoiding unnecessary transfusions. Essential elements of PBM include:

  • preventing conditions that might result in the need for transfusion
  • appropriate diagnosis
  • good surgical and anaesthetic techniques
  • the use of alternatives to blood transfusion and blood conservation.

The PBM approach has been endorsed and promoted by the WHO and is widely accepted as current best practice.

The EU has recently published two guides on Patient Blood Management (PBM), one for authorities and the other for hospitals.

To download the two guides on Patient Blood Management from the ec.europa.eu website

Cross-border collaboration in public procurement

This report ‘How can voluntary cross-border collaboration in public procurement improve access to health technologies in Europe?’ examines the legal framework put in place by the EU to foster voluntary cross-border collaboration in the field of public procurement of health technologies. It looks at recent experiences and developments in cross-border collaboration across Europe and explores the challenges and opportunities that such cross-border collaboration present.

To download the report on cross-border collaboration in public procurement from the euro.who.int website

Government expenditure on health

At EU-level, ‘health’ expenditure remained the second largest item of general government expenditure after expenditure on ‘social protection’ in 2015. In the EU-28, total expenditure of general governments on ‘health’ amounted to 7.2% of GDP. ‘Hospital services’ accounted for 3.4 % of GDP, ‘outpatient services’ for 2.2 % of GDP and ‘medical products, appliances and equipment’ for 1.0 % of GDP.

For more statistics about expenditure on health services from the ec.europa.eu website

Strategic investments for the future of healthcare

National health systems in the EU face common challenges: ageing populations and a rise of chronic diseases leading to growing demand for healthcare; shortages and uneven distribution of health professionals etc. Furthermore, (public) financial resources available for health are constrained. Today’s health systems are in need of reforms to
tackle these challenges. New care models, which support a shift from hospital-centred to more community and integrated care approaches, are a crucial part of the reforms to improve the efficiency and sustainability of health systems.
Earlier in 2017, the Commission, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB), held a seminar to discuss new forms of investment for innovative forms of healthcare. Over 100 delegates participated in the event, from the public and private sectors: Member States authorities, healthcare managers and service providers, as well as investors active or interested in the health sector.
This led to the report ‘Strategic investments for the future of healthcare’ which details the investment plan for health within the EU.
Download Strategic investments for the future of healthcare from the ec.europa.eu website