New report from Health Consumer Powerhouse

 

European healthcare is steadily improving: infant mortality as well as survival rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer are all moving in the right direction. Patient choice and involvement are developing. But too many countries stick to inefficient ways to fund and deliver care services. Copying the most successful European healthcare systems would save money to be invested in saving lives and improving performance among the many countries struggling to meet citizens’ expectations. This is a main conclusion from the 2016 Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI), published by the Health Consumer Powerhouse.

EHCI is the leading comparison for assessing the performance of national healthcare systems in 35 countries. EHCI analyses national healthcare on 48 indicators, looks into patient rights and information, access to care, treatment outcomes, range and reach of services, prevention and use of pharmaceuticals. The Index ranks the countries (minimum score is 333, the maximum 1000):

For the first time two countries – the Netherlands (927) and Switzerland (904) – break the 900 points barrier. This means that they are coming close to meeting all the criteria for good, consumer-friendly healthcare. Just behind are Norway (865), Belgium (860), Iceland (854), Luxembourg (851), Germany (849) and Finland (842). In spite of a general improvement among all national health systems the gap remains between the top performers (in North-western Europe plus Switzerland) and the least developed ones (in former CEE and South-eastern Europe).

Norway reaches a full score on Patient rights. Belgium, Macedonia and Switzerland get a maximum score on accessibility. Sweden and the Netherlands gain maximum score on range and reach of services.

Macedonia has almost eliminated waiting times and shows what imagination, determination and firm leadership, can achieve, says Professor Arne Bjornberg of EHCI.

The EHCI ranking of cost-efficient healthcare shows the relation between money spent on public healthcare and the performance of healthcare systems. Some countries provide very good healthcare in relation to the cost. Estonia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Portugal all offer good value for money.

Romania and Bulgaria have a tradition of long hospital stays, which they cannot afford. Poland and Hungary try to deny the need for radical health systems reform. Ireland sticks to inefficient, unequal semi-private funding, and has one of the highest healthcare waiting times in Europe. Six other EU countries have poor emergency department waiting times – the UK, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Slovakia and Greece.

The report concludes that many countries could benefit by copying the most successful systems and ideas.

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