The Country Health Profiles give a snapshot of a population’s state of health and key risk factors, along with a brief assessment of each health system’s performance in terms of effectiveness, accessibility and resilience. The Country Health Profiles are prepared by the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies in cooperation with the European Commission.
Five cross-cutting conclusions come forward in the Companion Report published along with the Country Health Profiles:
- Health promotion and disease prevention pave the way for a more effective and efficient health system. Aside from the unbalanced investments in prevention, social inequalities need to be tackled, as illustrated by the differences in cancer screening or physical activity between people with higher and lower income and education.
- Strong primary care efficiently guides patients through the health system and helps avoid wasteful spending. 27% visit an emergency department because of inadequate primary care. Only 14 EU countries require primary care referral for consulting a specialist; 9 other countries have financial incentives for referrals.
- Integrated care ensures that a patient receives joined-up care. It avoids the situation we currently see in nearly all EU countries, where care is fragmented and patients have to search their way through a maze of care facilities.
- Proactive health workforce planning and forecasting make health systems resilient to future evolutions. The EU has 18 million healthcare professionals, and another 1.8 million jobs will be created by 2025. Health authorities need to prepare their workforce for upcoming changes: an ageing population and multimorbidity, the need for sound recruitment policies, new skills, and technical innovation.
- Patients should be at the centre of the next generation of better health data for policy and practice. The digital transformation of health and care helps capture real-world outcomes and experiences that matter to patients, with great potential for strengthening the effectiveness of health systems.
Those reports are part of the two-year process of the ‘State of Health in the EU‘ initiative.