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Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

State of Health in the EU Cycle

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

This fourth edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents key indicators of health and health systems in the 28 EU countries, 5 candidate countries to the EU and 3 EFTA countries. This 2016 edition contains two main new features: two thematic chapters analyse the links between population health and labour market outcomes, and the important challenge of strengthening primary care systems in European countries; and a new chapter on the resilience, efficiency and sustainability of health systems in Europe, in order to align the content of this publication more closely with the 2014 European Commission Communication on effective, accessible and resilient health systems. This publication is the result of a renewed collaboration between the OECD and the European Commission under the broader "State of Health in the EU" initiative, designed to support EU member states in their evidence-based policy making.

 

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Strengthening primary care systems

The demand for health care is evolving rapidly in EU countries in a context of population ageing and the growing number of people living with one or more chronic conditions. To meet the challenge of these demographic and epidemiological shifts, EU health systems need to strengthen primary care systems to provide continuous, comprehensive, and co-ordinated care for their populations.This chapter looks at the organisation and provision of primary care across EU countries. It uses a number of indicators to measure access to primary care and its effectiveness and quality, either directly through indicators such as pharmaceutical prescribing quality or indirectly through potentially avoidable hospital admissions. The chapter identifies possible policy options that countries could consider to strengthen their primary care systems, drawing lessons from the recent series of OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality and other relevant OECD work. This chapter shows that some countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, generally perform relatively well on several indicators related to access to and quality of primary care. All EU countries, particularly those in Central and Eastern Europe, need to pursue comprehensive reforms to strengthen their primary care system to better address the needs of ageing populations and reduce the unnecessary use of hospital care.

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