Improving health system efficiency is a compelling policy goal, especially in systems facing serious resource constraints. However, in order to improve efficiency we must know how to properly measure it. A new policy brief therefore proposes an analytic framework for understanding and interpreting many of the most common health care efficiency indicators.

The brief’s key messages are:

  • The inexorable growth in health expenditure has led to a widespread demand for efficiency improvements.
  • There is no single metric or set of indicators that will give the complete picture of health system efficiency in a country.
  • The real causes of any identified inefficiencies need to be carefully identified and analysed to inform good policymaking.
  • More nuanced indicators require more standardized and detailed cost accounting data and linked datasets and registries.
  • This policy brief gives a useful framework for understanding and interpreting the healthcare efficiency metrics that are widely used.

To read the brief in full go to: WHO/Europe | European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies – How to make sense of health system efficiency comparisons?