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Measuring Up

Improving Health System Performance in OECD Countries

image of Measuring Up

How can we measure the performance of different health systems, and how can we use such information to support on-going health systems improvement? Those are the central questions addressed in this volume. Health policy makers have a growing interest in finding ways of encouraging health systems to improve their performance, where performance is measured against quality, efficiency or equity goals. Improving performance has the potential to reduce the tensions between rising demands and limited resources. There is also a growing demand for accountability among funders and providers of health services.

This book highlights the core elements of a possible performance measurement framework to assess health systems at the international and national levels. It also addresses further challenges which remain: how do we overcome the lack of health outcome measures? How do we better align performance information and incentives with policy objectives? And how do we reconcile the traditional professional self-regulation approach with greater public accountability for health care quality?

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Towards Integrated and Coherent Health Information Systems for Performance Monitoring

The Canadian Experience

Canada has a great deal of excellent health data; but we are still striving for integrated and coherent information systems in the health domain. There is growing appreciation that the proper kinds of health information systems can:

• significantly improve patient care,

• support much more effective management of the delivery of health services, and

• provide the foundations for major new insights into the determinants of population health.

In addition, these same health information systems, if properly conceived, designed and implemented, can provide the foundations for effective performance monitoring. This paper briefly traces the evolution of these ideas over the past decade, describes the leading current health information initiatives, and links them together into the vision of Canada’s “health infostructure”.

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