Focus on outcomes alone inadequate
VANCOUVER, May 11 /CNW/ - Injecting tens of billions of dollars into
Canadian hospitals with no value measures in place is an inefficient
approach to health care spending, says a report from the Certified
General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada).
"While more money can deliver more health care, it won't necessarily be
better health care," says Rock Lefebvre, CGA-Canada's vice-president of
research and standards. "Without value-for-money metrics, hospitals
and governments can't know if they could have achieved better health
outcomes had the same money been invested elsewhere in the system."
Highlights and the full report: Can We Get Better for Less? Value for Money in Canadian Health Care are available via the CGA-Canada website.
In 2010, hospitals in Canada received an estimated $55.3 billion - or
28.9 percent of all health care spending - making them the single
largest component of health care spending by provincial governments.
That spending - on staff, hospital beds, technology and the like - is
predicted to soar, along with an aging population, longer life
expectancies, and costly new innovations. One way to rein in that
spending is to embrace value-for-money measures within the health care
Before committing to investment in additional physician capacity,
hospital beds or diagnostic technology, policy makers could establish
consistent and transparent value-for-money measures that reflect access
to and quality of care, patient health outcomes and costs, and are
monitored and tracked regularly over time and compared across
institutions. Uniformly computed and publicly reported value-for-money
metrics for all hospitals could enable comparison and allow sharing of
"Unfortunately our health care system doesn't yet provide benchmarks for
the evaluation of effectiveness and efficiency of care delivered,"
notes Lefebvre. "Reporting and comparing value-for-money measures would
give hospital management, taxpayers and policy makers a much clearer
picture of what we are all paying for."
Select outcome measures, such as wait times, may be crowding out other
measures of quality, according to the report. As well,
pay-for-performance programs, while promising, need further analysis of
their implementation and success.
In 2008 and 2009, Canada ranked last out of 30 countries in terms of
value for money spent as reflected in the Euro-Canada Health Consumer
Index. In 2010, Canada's ranking moved to 25th place out of 34 countries (with the United States excluded from the
study). And the scorecard released by the Commonwealth Fund ranked
Canada sixth out of six countries on the value-for-money dimension.
Founded in 1908, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
serves 75,000 Certified General Accountants and students in Canada and
more than 90 countries. Respected accounting and financial management
professionals, CGAs work in industry, finance, government and public
practice. CGA-Canada establishes the designation's certification
requirements and professional standards, offers professional
development, conducts research and advocacy, and represents CGAs
nationally and internationally.
CGA-Canada has been active in developing impartial and objective
research on a range of topics related to major accounting, economic and
social issues affecting Canadians and businesses. CGA-Canada is
recognized for heightening public awareness, contributing to public
policy dialogue, and advancing public interest.
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