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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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Waiting times for elective surgery

Long waiting times for elective (non-emergency) surgery cause dissatisfaction for patients, because they postpone the expected benefits of treatment, and pain and disability remain. Waiting times are the result of a complex interaction between the demand and supply of health services, with doctors playing a critical role on both sides. Demand for health services and elective surgeries is determined by the health status of the population, progress in medical technologies (including the simplification of many procedures, such as cataract surgery), patient preferences, and the burden of cost-sharing for patients. However, doctors play a crucial role in the decision to operate on a patient or not. On the supply side, the availability of surgeons, anaesthetists and other staff in surgical teams, as well as the supply of the required medical equipment, affect surgical activity rates.

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