On 17 January, health ministers supported the new international patient outcomes league table at a meeting in Paris. The patient reported indicator survey (PARIS), in development by the OECD, aims to gather a new generation of health statistics on patients’ own experience of medical care and health care outcomes.
According to OECD’s secretary-general José Ángel Gurría “it will involve the actual rolling out of a set of commonly accepted indicators to track quality, access and value for money of health policies and inputs”. He further added that ‘’we will no longer just measure health inputs, but also whether medical care leads to people being in less pain, more mobile and in better health.”
The data collection will start small, covering representative samples of patients who have had strokes, heart attacks, cancer, hip and knee surgery, and mental illness. The Commonwealth Fund and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) will help design survey questions and indicators.
Francesca Colombo, the head of health at the OECD, mentioned that OECD is interested in hearing patients experience and the organisation is currently active in 19 countries.It is important to be aware of patient experiences in order to decrease the cost of healthcare, according to Harvard economist Michael Porter, who co-founded ICHOM in 2012 in order to obtain a value-based healthcare by giving an emphasis on the patients’ needs.
The OECD believes that the surveys could eventually grow to be on a par with PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), a test comparing the educational attainment of 15-year olds.
Currently there are now 65 countries participating in PISA, the results of which dominate analyses of the quality of different national education systems and are used to inform policies and drive change. There are countries such as Canada and Norway that welcome the new system which will provide a more patient-centred approach. However there are still countries that do not wish to be ranked. The reason is that PISA currently reveals stark truths about the relative performance of education systems. The new patient outcomes survey could similarly shame countries into action.
Xavier Prats Monné, director-general of the European Commission’s directorate for health and food safety, has acknowledged the difficulties of using a standardised test to compare different countries but believes that policymakers should welcome the challenge. Prats Monné stated that “the EU already works with the OECD on research into European health systems and will support the development of the outcomes league table, both politically and financially.’’
OECD health statistics have driven policy change in the past. For example, South Korea put a huge amount of effort into improvements after it saw its lowly ranking against other OECD members in 30-day mortality after admission to hospital for a heart attack.
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