The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank released a report urging governments around the world to think seriously about planning for high quality care, noting that poor quality health services are holding back progress in countries of all income levels.
Low quality healthcare costs time and money, notes a new joint report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank. Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, not just low- and middle-income countries, the report said.
The report is a guide for governments around the world to think seriously about planning for high quality care, keeping the goal of achieving universal healthcare by 2030 in mind.
“Quality of care is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge,” says the report, Delivering Quality Health Services — a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage.
“Without quality health services, universal health coverage will remain an empty promise,” OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría said in a statement. “The economic and social benefits are clear and we need to see a much stronger focus on investing in and improving quality to create trust in health services and give everyone access to high-quality, people-centered health services.”
Findings in the report show a range of quality problems in healthcare around the world:
The economic and social costs of poor quality care, including long-term disability, impairment and lost productivity, are estimated to amount to trillions of dollars each year. However, there has been some progress in improving quality, for example in survival rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The 100-page report outlines the steps governments, health services, and their workers need to take to improve healthcare quality.
There are 5 foundational elements critical to delivering quality healthcare services, the report said, including healthcare workers; healthcare facilities; medicines, devices, and other technologies; information systems; and financing.
Interventions to improve care quality include:
Health systems should focus on competent care and user experience to ensure confidence in the system. Healthcare workers should see patients as partners and commit themselves to providing and using data to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of healthcare.
Among other things, health systems need to: