May 9, 2013

The right rate

International Variations in a Selected Number of Surgical Procedures

If you want to be astonished by the huge variation on the rate of surgical procedures in OECD countries, have a look at this report. It is difficult to find arguments for such a huge differences in health care. The key statement:
The data presented here provide contemporary assessments of the size of the clinical margins of uncertainty for the procedures studied. These may also in part be a consequence of varying legal constraints, methods of payment, availability of cover and patient preferences. They therefore provide basic evidence for research priorities in an increasingly evidence-based medicine paradigm. The only way to make proper judgements on the optimal level for a particular procedure is to have national longitudinal data linking individuals’ treatment (and deliberate withholding of treatment) to outcomes. Such data do not exist in most countries. This is a critical deficiency in health service delivery, which means current policy on which procedures to fund, for whom, is formulated in circumstances based more upon local custom and scientific tradition than empirical effectiveness data.
Meanwhile you can add this report to the folders with the Atlas VPM that you may already know.