Efficiency in Health Care Systems Essay

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Pages: 10

Its without doubt that there are countless ways to define efficiency in the health care system. The different structures of the health care systems around the world give rise to discrepancies in the definitions present. Yet such definitions all share common elements. Hence a unanimous statement of what efficiency is should be adopted to allow the fair evaluation of health care systems internationally. Efficiency should be simply defined as the balanced relationship between the inputs to health care and the maximized outputs that are generated from such inputs. Efficiency can be split into three broad categories, operational efficiency, allocative efficiency and administrative efficiency (Elizabeth A. McGlynn, et al. 2008). With this …show more content…
In terms of operational efficiency, many of OECD countries still possess the potential to perform better.
Allocative efficiency refers to the ability to appropriately allocate resources to equally performing but less costly clinical services. Elements that constitute towards allocative efficiency are for example ranking diseases based on priority, investing in the prevention of disease and hence minimizing preventable hospitalizations. Such efficiency can be evaluated through output such as medical staff training, hospital bed availabilities and prevalence of technology in hospitals. Health spending in Australia accounted for 9.1% of GDP in 2009-2010 (OECD 2012) which is lower than the average of 9.5% in other OECD countries. Percentages of GDP spent in the US and other European countries include US(17.6%), Netherlands (12.0%), France and Germany (11.6%), and Switzerland (11.4%). Such spending in Australia translated to 3.1 physicians per 1000 population which coincided with the OECD average and 10.1 nurses per 1000 population which was higher than the OECD average. These figures show that for a less than average spending on health care, similar numbers of doctors and more nurses were trained. This implies that there is still room for an increase in efficiency in relation to the countries that are spending more but producing less.
Statistics show that acute care hospital beds have fallen for most OECD countries. The ratio of beds to patients in 2009 for