London School of Economics gives policy recommendations to make Austria’s social insurance system more efficient

26

Sep 2017

The Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs had commissioned a study on the efficiency of the country’s healthcare and social insurance system at the beginning of 2016. The study aimed to identify efficiency potentials to improve services. The London School of Economics (LSE) was engaged to conduct the study under involvement of local stakeholders and experts. The result is a comprehensive report of 1400 pages that was published in August 2017.

In its report, LSE presents a range of policy options designed to improve the efficiency of different areas within the Austrian social insurance system. In relation to hospital sector and medical devices the following recommendations were made:

Harmonization of benefits

  • Considerable differences exist for insured patients in specific goods and services like dentistry, non-medical services, medical aids and medical therapeutic devices. These differences should be eliminated

Quality assurance

  • A new federal agency for quality assurance in health and nursing should be created, to which the control of quality standards is legally transferred
  • The Austrian Association for Quality Assurance in Medicine (ÖQMed) should be retained as an independent quality committee but relocated to the Ministry of Health (BMGF) and given the organization control over monitoring the quality of care among contracted and non-contracted physicians
  • Generally, the focus on developing outcome indicators should be increased

Modernization of outpatient sector

  • The Austrian health care system strongly focuses on the inpatient care sector. The role of primary care should be strengthened to relieve the burden on hospitals
  • Establishment of 75 regional centers amongst others offering specialist care
  • Support in establishment of primary care practices
  • Expansion of the telephone consultation service “1450” throughout Austria
  • Coordination of specialist appointments in urgent cases by health insurance funds

The full report in English is available here.

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