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Choosing a hospital the way you choose a hotel

Montreal, October 20, 2016 – Just like the TripAdvisor website that compares the views of travellers, there are quality reports in Germany that allow people to compare the country’s different hospitals.

Indeed, as described in an Economic Note published today by the MEI, the German government requires that all hospitals publish, every two years, data on the quality of the services they offer, and that they make this data available to patients.

“This is a very effective measure that allows patients to choose the most appropriate hospital in which to seek treatment,” says Frederik Roeder, German health economist and author of the study. “Since they are able to gather the relevant data on the quality of care in different hospitals, patients, and referring doctors too, can choose the best health care facility for the job.”

These quality reports include information on which treatments a hospital conducted in a given year and how many of each, as well as the rate of complications and quality violations.

“Using this database, patients can compare not only different hospitals’ expertise, but also whether a hospital is above average, average, or below average in providing these services compared to other hospitals in its region and nationwide,” adds Mr. Roeder.

Quality reports encourage hospitals to improve their level of quality in order to attract more patients, since funding follows the patient. Hospitals are also starting to receive compensation based explicitly on treatment quality, which creates additional incentives to improve quality outcomes, as it translates directly into revenue.

“The data speaks for itself,” says MEI Research Director Youri Chassin, who collaborated on the study. “Just from 2013 to 2014, more than 15% of the 416 indicators measured showed significant improvements, meaning lower complication rates during and after hospital treatment, a speedier recovery, and a lower lethality rate.”

Among its health care reforms, the Quebec government already plans to finance its hospitals through activity-based funding, abandoning historically defined global budgets. It would be a perfect time to also take inspiration from the German model in terms of quality reporting.

“It could represent a quantum leap for the quality of care in Quebec if the province implemented a reporting system. Everyone would win: patients, hospitals, and doctors,” concludes Youri Chassin.

The Economic Note entitled “Quality Reporting in German Hospitals: A Model for Quebec” was prepared by Frederic Roeder, German health economist and Associate Researcher at the MEI, in collaboration with Youri Chassin, Research Director at the MEI. This publication is available on our website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

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Interview requests: Pascale Déry, Senior Advisor, Communications, Current Affairs, MEI / Tel.: 514-502-6757 / Email: pdery@iedm.org

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