OECD looking at harnessing data, administration waste

From January 16, 2017, “Expresso” morning summary of the Economist magazine

Health ministers from the 35 countries of the OECD start a two-day meeting in Paris, at a conference that will try to frame the future of rich-country health care. The agenda includes making better use of new technologies and harnessing “big data”; the sector is seen as a laggard in these areas.

Waste is a huge problem: a recent report found that expenditure on administration is seven times higher per person in some OECD countries than in others, and that one-fifth of spending makes no or minimal contribution to improving health. It also concluded, depressingly, that over 10% of hospital expenditure goes on correcting preventable medical mistakes or infections caught in hospitals.

Ministers will discuss this report, and how best to move to a “people-centred approach” in medicine. This curious bureaucratic phrase means putting a higher priority on patients’ needs—as opposed to those of administrators and producer lobbies.

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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