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OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Norway 2014

Raising Standards

image of OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Norway 2014

This book presents a comprehensive review of health care quality in Norway. It finds that Norway has an impressive and comprehensive health system, which is the result of sustained commitment to providing health care for the whole Norwegian population, investment in the health system, and readiness to make changes to drive improvements. On most indicators Norway’s health system appears to be performing well, although there is some room for improvement. There have been a number of significant health care reforms in Norway over the last decade, most recently the Coordination Reform, which took effect in January 2012.

Broadly this is a positive story, but challenges do lie ahead for Norway. Norway is putting in place measures to respond to these challenges, notably with the 2012 Coordination Reform, but still has some way to go before the fruits of such labour are truly felt across the health system. Norway’s ambitious reform agenda must now be balanced by structured efforts ‘on the ground’. Attention should now turn to putting in place appropriate data infrastructures, promoting meaningful engagement between key stakeholders, and by balancing a generous health budget that allows for important investments in developing new structures and services with attention to getting the most out of existing services.

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Quality of health care in Norway

This chapter provides an overview of policies and strategies to assure and improve the quality of health care in Norway. After describing the organisation of the Norwegian health care system and the roles of the central government, the county and local level, the chapter focuses on the assurance of the quality of professionals, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and health care institutions. Policies to monitor and improve quality of care are then described, including the Norwegian patient safety agenda, the information infrastructure, and the use of national guidelines and health technology assessment. Specific attention is finally given to policies aimed at strengthening the role and perspective of the patient, as well as contracting and paying for quality.

This chapter concludes that Norway has an impressive number of quality initiatives, but challenges remain to complete a quality improvement culture with robust assurance mechanisms. Individual professional performance could be made mandatory for all medical doctors, accreditation programme might be set-up for health care facilities and patient safety could be strengthened to more primary care services. The implementation of incentive structures through quality contracting and targeted reimbursement would further enhance performance.

English

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