Value for Money in Health Spending

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Health spending continues to rise inexorably, growing faster than the economy in most OECD countries. Most of this spending comes from the public purse. Given the recent economic downturn, countries are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of health spending. This publication examines current efforts to improve health care efficiency, including tools that show promise in helping health systems provide the best care for their money, such as pay for performance, co-ordination of care, health technology assessment and clinical guidelines, pharmaceutical re-imbursement and risk-sharing agreements, and information and communication technology.

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How Much is Too Much? Value for Money in Health Spending

This chapter starts with a look at recent trends – focusing on the last decade and a half – in health spending and its components. The main drivers behind health expenditure growth are then discussed and, on the basis of this, possible future spending pressure. The chapter then presents a brief assessment of the current macroeconomic situation facing OECD countries, drawing on the latest projections of countries’ fiscal positions and concludes with a discussion of recent evidence on the degree of system inefficiency, suggesting that there is scope for addressing sustainability, financial or economic, by improving the efficiency of resource use to that of the best performers.

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