NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 31, 2008

The latest special issue of Health Economics looks at health care cost and quality metrics across nine European countries using clinical vignettes from the HealthBasket dataset.   The nine countries included in the project were: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. 

According to the authors:

  • Hungary, Poland, and Spain were -- as expected -- below the nine-country average (in terms of medical cost).
  • However, after adjustment for episode-specific purchasing power parity, the costs of these three countries turned out to be average, or even among the highest for some vignettes.
  • The prices that were charged varied greatly, not least because of variation in applied technologies. 
  • The hip replacement vignette, for example, was reimbursed at a (average) level of €8963 in Italy (about U.S. $13,500), compared with €1795 in Hungary (about U.S. $2,653).
  • The AMI vignette showed some remarkable variations as well; in the Netherlands, the price for an AMI treatment was €8722 (about U.S. $12,890); whereas in neighboring Germany, it was only €3114 (about U.S. $4,602)."

While the technology used had a large impact on cost, structural variables (e.g.: number of beds per hospital, staff per beds, beds in the relevant specialty, or staff in the relevant specialty) had little correlation with procedural costs.

Source: Reinhard Busse, Jonas Schreyögg and Peter C. Smith, " Variability in health care treatment costs amongst nine EU countries -- results from the HealthBASKET project," Health Economics, Volume 17, Issue S1, January 9, 2008.

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