Value-based Health Systems
We are in a pivotal moment for European health systems, when the COVID-19 pandemic has put health systems under severe stress and added to the already existing pressures stemming from ageing populations and chronic diseases
Health systems are complex, often fragmented and heavy with legacy. To a great extent they are still operating on a logic from an older era, built around treating acute illness and disease, and have therefore been struggling to meet the needs coming from today’s demographic, societal and technological developments.
Despite the best intentions, patient outcomes can differ significantly depending on in which hospital or clinic the patient was treated, and also across countries despite similar levels of healthcare expenditure. Significant amounts of healthcare budgets are spent inefficiently, having little or no impact on patient health, and efficient solutions that could improve health systems are many times not implemented as they do not fit into the current model. As a result, patients’ lives and their quality of life may suffer, and limited health and social care resources are spent on managing unnecessary complications and low-value care.
During recent years, an important movement has been developing in Europe and globally to replace the old logic with a new one, centred around the outcomes that ultimately matter for people and patients and how these can be achieved with the best resource utilization for the system and society as a whole by innovating the delivery of care. Value-based healthcare, outcomes-based healthcare and people-centred health systems are all concepts that with some variation build on this theme. However, although a lot of progress has been made in different healthcare settings across Europe, implementation in most cases remain scattered and piece-meal, and there is still a lack of common understanding between health system actors on which principles should underpin the transformation to a value-based system.