Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / Evaluation and performance

European Healthcare Design 2017

Keynote address: Tackling wasteful spending to improve health system performance: an international perspective

By Agnes Couffinhal 26 Jul 2017 0

Up to a fifth of health expenditure makes little or no contribution to improving people’s health. In some cases, it even results in worse health outcomes.

Download the slides for this video presentation


Wasteful spending occurs, for instance, when patients are harmed in the process of care, receive interventions that are not medically indicated, use brand-name drugs instead of generics, or are unnecessarily treated in a hospital instead of a more suitable lower- level facility. Countries could potentially spend significantly less on healthcare with no impact on health system performance, or on health outcomes.

Agnes’ keynote focuses on a recent report by the OECD that systematically reviews strategies put in place by countries to limit ineffective spending and waste. Actions to tackle waste are needed in the delivery of care, in the management of health services, and in the governance of the system. Acknowledging the existence of wasteful spending and collecting more systematic information on its scope are necessary steps.

Tackling waste requires persuading all stakeholders that the best option is the least wasteful one, and developing payment and incentives that reward the delivery of the right care in the right place.

Organisations involved