Bring biz model into health care: Health Council

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Health care in the Netherlands is lagging behind, says the Council for Public Health and Health Care RVZ. The government’s advice organ on public health says life expectancy is lower than neighbouring EU countries and there are marked differences in health standards in the country’s different regions.

The RVZ wants to adopt a business model approach by working with clearly defined ‘health targets’, where a GP would outline the health targets in each patient’s file. The advice body told Health Minister Edith Schippers  the authorities – both at local and national level - should become more involved in setting standards and trends in health care.

Health targets are “measurable”, specific and can be easily monitored, says RVZ. All the parties involved can see if the target has been reached – if the patient can walk within two weeks after an operation, for example. Indefinite treatment is discouraged in most cases.

And, just as in business, working with health targets ultimately helps to reduce health care costs, claims the council. The RVZ cites examples of health care projects in the US and the UK using this target-styled model. In the Netherlands, a similar project - aimed at overweight children - was set up in the Overvecht area of Utrecht province and was considered successful.

The RVZ proposes that financing within the health sector should be based on reaching these set health targets. Under the current system, GPs are subsidised in line with the numbers of visits by patients.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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