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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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Shifting care away from the hospital sector and toward primary care settings in Norway

This chapter describes existing supplemented primary health care units in Norway and it provides advice on how the set-up of these units can contribute to goals of improving quality of care. Supplemented primary health care units are community-based structures created to provide short-term intervention to preserve the independence of people who might otherwise face unnecessarily prolonged hospital stays or inappropriate admission to hospital. Whilst comparable units have already existed for several years in a number of Norwegian municipalities, the 2012 Coordination Reform required their development and has given an added impetus to their systematic establishment. The overarching goal is to boost lower-level care, expand primary care services, and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

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