1. Who will be the 2012 Healthcare Champ?
In a few months the 2012 Champion of European healthcare will be announced, as the new edition of the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) is published. This comparison of how well the national European healthcare systems perform has become an industry standard for healthcare since the start in 2005. The 2012 edition will cover 34 countries using a growing matrix of around 40 indicators. The final matrix is still under development.
Who will be the winner of the new measurement? The last edition (2009) put the Netherlands in top – will ongoing NL reform affect that position? Will small but energetic competitors such as the 2009 runners-up, Denmark and Iceland, continue to climb? What about Norway, today spending more money (in “normal” USD) per capita on healthcare than the USA? What has happened among high-performers such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France since 2009?
It will take some years before CEE countries can compete for positions among the top 10. As Europe integrates the EHCI expands to cover new countries. This year, Serbia will be included for the first time (Albania joined already by 2009). The new ranking will indicate whether the performance gap between East and West and North and South is shrinking. Better health and healthcare equality is a EU top priority. Here EHCI 2012 will provide important status information.
2. Short intro to EHCI 2012
The Euro Health Consumer Index is the single pan-European measurement of how well national healthcare systems meet patient/consumer expectations with regard to user information, equal and timely access and treatment outcomes. The initial Index was put together 2005 and has since then expanded, today covering every EU member state and accession nations as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Albania and FYHR Macedonia, in all 33 countries. This year’s update will bring Serbia into the system as the 34th country.
EHCI builds the ranking on ~40 indicators in five sub-disciplines: Patient rights and information, Waiting times, Outcomes, Range and reach of services and Pharmaceuticals. The selection of indicators is decided in co-operation with the External Reference Panel, a group of senior healthcare experts to advise on the Index composition. The Index outcomes are presented in a user-friendly way, with traffic-light colors to tell if a country performs quite well, medium or poor.
The sub-divisions are given a weight indicating how HCP looks at their respective importance, providing Outcomes and Waiting times with the highest weight. Depending on how well a national healthcare system responds to the indicator criteria a total maximum of 1 000 points can be rewarded. The last winner (2009) – the Netherlands – scored 863 points while the weakest competitor, Bulgaria, scored 448 points.
EHCI not only provides a status assessment for each of the 34 countries but as well gradually make longitudinal analysis possible, as performance data have been generated since 2005. To patients and care consumers EHCI is an opportunity for lay-persons to inform themselves, to compare and to take action to achieve the best possible healthcare. And to healthcare industry stakeholders this unique benchmark rooms an awareness and opinion forming potential. Altogether, better performance transparency and common ways to form accountability drives healthcare quality – a win-win situation for Europe.
The EHCI methodology is explained on our website healthpowerhouse.com.
3. New indicators in the 2012 edition – input welcome!
The introduction of additional indicators to the EHCI matrix is a process including many experts among government institutions, medical professions and patient groups. We welcome ideas from newsletter readers about what health care segments and parameters should be included in the future editions of the EHCI. Dialogue with users, co-workers and stakeholders will be a growingly important asset to improve the healthcare of tomorrow.
Please keep in mind that we measure healthcare systems performance from a consumer/patient angle. We look forward to your views! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
4. Will austerity measures impact?
“How will financial austerity measures hit healthcare? Will poor European countries fall behind, increasing the gap between the affluent and struggling national healthcare systems?” This is right now a very common question around our continent, not least worrying EU players with the task of reducing health and healthcare inequalities between member states.
Still, our impression is that European healthcare is characterized by steady improvement. One example to illustrate this trend is infant mortality, an indicator in the EHCI set. As this graph below shows, the situation is generally improving, with 20 countries scoring Green in 2010 as opposed to only nine countries five years earlier. At the same time HCP receives numerous signals that a different Index indicator: the introduction of new medicines into the public reimbursement system, might reveal an increase in the time-lag with funding cuts a possible reason (or excuse).
When published in May the 2012 EHCI will serve as an “early warning”, indicating possible negative trends in European healthcare, calling for action. We will come back to this topic in future newsletters. Please let us know if you are sitting on experience or indicator ideas facilitating the EHCI reporting in this field!
5. I want the next newsletter!
Do you want the next EHCI 2012 newsletters in your mailbox? If so, just send us a request to email@example.com and we will add you to the subscription list for free. The next letter will arrive February 21.
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