Improving Health Sector Efficiency

The Role of Information and Communication Technologies

image of Improving Health Sector Efficiency
Despite the promise they hold out, implementing information and communication technologies (ICTs) in clinical care has proven to be a very difficult undertaking. More than a decade of efforts provide a picture of significant public investments, resulting in both notable successes and some highly publicised costly delays and failures. This has been accompanied by a failure to achieve widespread understanding among the general public and the medical profession of the benefits of electronic record keeping and information exchange.  

With consistent cross-country information on these issues largely absent, the OECD has used lessons learned from case studies in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States to identify the opportunities offered by ICTs and to analyse under what conditions these technologies are most likely to result in efficiency and quality-of-care improvements. The findings highlight a number of practices or approaches that could usefully be employed in efforts to improve and accelerate the adoption and use of these technologies.

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Policy makers in OECD countries are faced with ever-increasing demands to make health systems more responsive to the patients they serve, as well as improving the quality of care, and addressing disparities in health and in access to care. However, what patients and providers want often does not match what today’s health care systems are able to deliver with existing structures at least at reasonable cost.

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