Health policies and data

Reviews of National Healthcare Quality


OECD Healthcare Quality Reviews provide a toolkit to improve the quality of healthcare

Over the past four years, the OECD has conducted a series of in-depth reviews of the policies and institutions that underpin the measurement and improvement of healthcare quality in 15 different health systems. Caring for Quality in Health: Lessons learnt from 15 reviews of healthcare quality seeks to answer the question of what caring for quality means for a modern healthcare system by identifying what policies and approaches work best in improving quality of care.

Despite differences in healthcare system priorities, and in how quality-improvement tools are designed and applied, a number of common approaches and shared challenges emerged across the 15 OECD Reviews of Healthcare Quality analysed. The most important of these concerns transparency. Governments should encourage, and where appropriate require, health systems and healthcare providers to be open about the effectiveness, safety and patient-centredness of care they provide.

More measures of patient outcomes are also needed - especially those reported by patients themselves. These should underpin standards, guidelines, incentives and innovations in service delivery. Greater transparency can lead to optimisation of both quality and efficiency – twin objectives which reinforce, rather than subvert, each other. In practical terms, greater transparency and better performance can be supported by changes in where and how care is delivered; changes in the roles of patients and professionals; and employing tools such as data and incentives more effectively. Key actions in these three areas are set out in the 12 lessons presented in this synthesis report.



  • OECD countries spent nearly a tenth of their GDP on health. As spending rises, there is pressure to ensure that resources help people live healthier lives
  • Most OECD countries have seen increased public interest in ensuring that patients receive care that is safe, effective, and responsive to their needs
  • OECD Healthcare Quality and Outcomes indicators show wide variations in quality across OECD countries, yet little is known about the policies that sit behind the numbers


Access the country reports and their press releases when clicking on the links below. Also available on the OECD iLibrary.

For a description of the health system in these countries and many others, visit the European Observatory's Health Systems in Transition (HiT) series.



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