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Health at a Glance 2017

OECD Indicators

image of Health at a Glance 2017

This new edition of Health at a Glance presents the most recent comparable data on the health status of populations and health system performance in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for partner countries (Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and South Africa). The data presented in this publication come from official national statistics, unless otherwise stated.

This edition contains a range of new indicators, particularly on risk factors for health. It also places greater emphasis on time trend analysis. Alongside indicator-by-indicator analysis, this edition offers snapshots and dashboard indicators that summarise the comparative performance of countries, and a special chapter on the main factors driving life expectancy gains.

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Capital expenditure in the health sector

Although health systems remain a highly labour-intensive sector, capital has been an increasingly important factor of production of health services over recent decades, as reflected for example by the growing importance of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment or the expansion of information and communications technology (ICT) in health care (see previous indicator on eHealth adoption in general practice and hospital). However, the level of resources invested in infrastructure, equipment and ICT tends to fluctuate more with economic cycles than current spending on health services, as investment decisions are often more discrete and can more easily be postponed or brought forward depending on economic circumstances. In making capital investment decisions, policy-makers need to carefully assess not only the short-term costs, but also the potential benefits in the short, medium and longer-term. Slowing down investment in health infrastructure and equipment may also reduce the capacity to treat patients and contribute to increases in waiting times for different types of services.

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