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A System of Health Accounts

2011 Edition

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A System of Health Accounts 2011 provides a systematic description of the financial flows related to the consumption of health care goods and services. As demands for information increase and more countries implement and institutionalise health accounts according to the system, the data produced are expected to be more comparable, more detailed and more policy relevant.

This new edition builds on the original OECD Manual, published in 2000, and the Guide to Producing National Health Accounts to create a single global framework for producing health expenditure accounts that can help track resource flows from sources to uses. The Manual is the result of a four-year collaborative effort between the OECD, WHO and the European Commission, and sets out in more detail the boundaries, the definitions and the concepts – responding to health care systems around the globe – from the simplest to the more complicated.

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Capital Formation in Health Systems

Knowing how much a health system is investing in infrastructure, machinery and equipment is very relevant for policy making and analysis. Although health systems remain a highly labour-intensive sector, capital has been increasingly important as a factor of production of health services over recent decades. Consider, for example, the growing importance of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment or the expansion of information, computer and telecommunications technology in health care over the last few years. The availability of statistics on capital are essential to the analysis of the health system’s production capacity (that is, whether capacity is appropriate, deficient or excessive), which is needed in turn to inform policy implementation (for example, if excess capacity exists, the marginal cost of expanding coverage will be lower than if the health care system is already straining to fill current demand). Information on capital could also assist with the estimation of productivity, capital intensity and rates of return.

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