OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Denmark 2013

Raising Standards

image of OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Denmark 2013

This review of health care quality in Denmark examines policies related to quality and includes chapters covering primary and integrated care, hospital specialisation and equity. It finds that with a dense array of disease- and service-focused quality initiatives, and with information on the quality of care stored in separate data repositories, Denmark needs to create effective links and synergies between them to drive up quality in the healthcare system as a whole, rather than in disconnected elements.

Primary care will be central in meeting Denmark’s future healthcare challenges of an ageing population with multiple chronic conditions. Therefore, an urgent need is to create a national vision of how a modernised primary care sector will fulfill this new coordination role. National standards, clinical guidelines, accreditation of clinical pathways and targeted financial incentive programmes could support this role, along with more transparent and formalised continual professional development.

To facilitate quality improvement from the ambitious hospital rationalisation, Denmark should collect and disseminate data on the quality of individual physicians as well as the hospitals. Undergraduate training and medical research should be reviewed in light of the new service arrangements.  Close surveillance will be needed to monitor whether certain patient groups forego healthcare because travel times to providers are too long. Limited data availability complicate Denmark’s ability to monitor its commitment to equitable healthcare. There is an urgent need for renewed action to tackle risk factors of chronic ill-health that disproportionately affect low-income groups. Better information on the impact of user-charges on unmet need in low-income groups is needed.    



Quality of care policies in Denmark

This chapter summarises the many policies and activities that are in place in Denmark to assure and improve quality of care, highlighting how policies to monitor and improve quality in the Danish health system should move from a focus on quality management of hospital services, towards quality improvement of the health care system as a whole. After describing the quality governance structure and the roles of the central government and its agencies, the regions and the municipalities, the chapter focuses on the assurance of the quality of professionals, pharmaceuticals and devices, and health care facilities. Safety policies are listed in a separate section, as are the various ways to shape the Danish information infrastructure to support the measurement and management of quality. Specific attention is given to policies aimed at strengthening the role and perspective of the patient. This chapter concludes that Denmark has a sophisticated and highly developed set of quality assurance mechanisms already in place, but that challenges remain to create more linkages and synergy between the many activities to realise quality of care not just for specific services but especially for the health care system as a whole


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