The Health And Funding Of Health Services Essay

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Executive summary Healthcare IT infrastructure varies widely in developed countries, as indeed does the organisation and funding of health services. This report provides a synopsis of the position in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and the USA. We also have brief notes on EU-level activities. Overall, developing countries have populations that are ageing and becoming more demanding. This, coupled with technological progress, pushes up operational costs faster than the general growth in prices or even incomes. The resulting cost-control pressures are one of the main drivers of IT expenditure. Improving service is also important but is generally secondary. Thanks to the ‘National Programme for IT’ (NPfIT) in England , the UK spends more money on health IT than any other country in Europe, with €2.4bn of the EU’s total of €8bn; France and Germany tag along next at about €1.2bn each. US expenditure is significantly larger – even on the most conservative estimate, Americans spend at least half as much again as Europeans. When we look at expenditure per capita, a different picture emerges. The high-spending countries are Sweden (€62), the USA (€53) and the UK (€43); next is the Netherlands on €31, then France and Germany with €19 and €17 respectively, while countries that have barely started to modernise their health services (such as Italy and Poland) spend about €10 per person. There are many problems with comparability. For example, a

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