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Health at a Glance 2019

OECD Indicators

image of Health at a Glance 2019

Health at a Glance compares key indicators for population health and health system performance across OECD members, candidate and partner countries. It highlights how countries differ in terms of the health status and health-seeking behaviour of their citizens; access to and quality of health care; and the resources available for health. Analysis is based on the latest comparable data across 80 indicators, with data coming from official national statistics, unless otherwise stated.

Alongside indicator-by-indicator analysis, an overview chapter summarises the comparative performance of countries and major trends, including how much health spending is associated with staffing, access, quality and health outcomes. This edition also includes a special focus on patient-reported outcomes and experiences, with a thematic chapter on measuring what matters for people-centred health systems.

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Safe prescribing in older populations

Prescribing is a critical component of care for older people. Ageing and multimorbidity often require older patients to take multiple medicines (polypharmacy) for long periods of their lives. While polypharmacy is in many cases justified for the management of multiple conditions, inappropriate polypharmacy increases the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs), medication error and harm, resulting in falls, episodes of confusion and delirium. Various initiatives to improve medication safety and prevent harm involve regular medicine reviews and increased coordination between prescribing networks of doctors and pharmacists along the patient care pathway. ADEs cause 8.6 million unplanned hospitalisations in Europe every year (Mair et al., 2017[1]). Polypharmacy is one of the three key action areas of the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge (WHO, 2019[2]).

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