OECD Health Policy Studies

2074-319X (online)
2074-3181 (print)
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This series of publications analyses the organisation and performance of health systems, and factors explaining performance variations. Studies are conducted on such topics as co-ordination of care, pharmaceutical pricing, long-term care and disability, health workforce and international migration of health workers, information and communications technologies in health care, and the economics of prevention. 
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Achieving Better Value for Money in Health Care

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02 Nov 2009
9789264074231 (PDF) ;9789264074200(print)

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Rising public health care spending remains a problem in virtually all OECD and EU member countries. As a consequence, there is growing interest in policies that will ease this pressure through improved health system performance. This report examines selected policies that may help countries better achieve the goal of improved health system efficiency and thus better value for money. Drawing on multinational data sets and case studies, it examines a range policy instruments. These include: the role of competition in health markets; the scope for improving care coordination; better pharmaceutical pricing policies; greater quality control supported by stronger information and communication technology in health care; and increased cost sharing.
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  • Introduction
    The six chapters in this volume were prepared for a one-day conference, "Improving Health System Efficiency: Achieving Better Value for Money", held on 17 September 2008 in Brussels. Jointly organised by the European Commission and the OECD, the purpose of the conference was to assess policies leading to more rational use of resources in the health care sector and the potential of such policies to promote long-term sustainability of health systems. Attendees included officials of the two hosting institutions and other international organisations, representatives of their member countries who hold policy-setting positions and technical experts.
  • Patterns of Health Care Spending Growth
    This chapter examines recent spending growth and the role of the underlying components of spending in these developments. It then looks at possible reasons for the wide variance in the level of health care spending across OECD and European countries.
  • Market Mechanisms and the Use of Health Care Resources
    This chapter examines the potential role of competition and markets in the health sector, describes experience to date, and seeks to draw out the important policy issues for the future.
  • Improving Health Care System Performance through Better Co-ordination of Care
    This chapter provides a broad overview of care coordination issues and approaches in OECD and European Union (EU) countries. It also looks at how health care systems are responding to the increasing prevalence of chronic disease and the scope for improved health system performance through enhanced policies in this area.
  • Ensuring Efficiency in Pharmaceutical Expenditures
    This chapter examines options for ensuring good value for money in pharmaceutical expenditure, keeping in mind both the short- and the long-term view. It then discusses the scope for improvement to existing policies and emerging alternative approaches.
  • Using ICT to Monitor and Improve Quality in Health Care
    This chapter describes key concepts related to health care quality and information that can be used to measure it. It then considers how current efforts could be furthered by using available technology and examines some important impediments to the wider introduction of ICTs.
  • The Impact of User Charges in Health Care
    This chapter examines current reliance of OECD countries on cost sharing and user charges in health care. It then looks at some European policy innovations and reviews some important results from the RAND health insurance experiment in the United States using variable levels of user charges. The chapter concludes with comments on the future role of user charges in developed health systems.
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