Report calls for increased accountability in healthcare


Healthcare systems around the world will become unsustainable by 2015, unless governments adopt new accountability standards on how the money is being spent, argues an IBM report, echoing earlier calls for more transparency in public health funding.

The Healthcare 2015: Win-win or lose-lose? report, on the sustainability of health systems and published by IBM Global Business Services, argues that world healthcare is in crisis and will become unsustainable by 2015. 

However, according to the report, the situation could be avoided if the systems quickly address the new healthcare environment which is “driven by the dictates of globalisation, consumerism, demographic shifts, the increased burden of disease, and expensive new technologies and treatments”.

The report presses for more accountability in public healthcare, and argues that this can be achieved providing governments take a more holistic view of value and “look not simply at the episodic costs of procedures but at how investments in high quality preventive care and proactive health status management can improve quality and help minimise the long-term cost structure of care.” 

The authors also underline the need for governments to provide incentives for preventive care and for citizens to take responsibility for their own health by changing lifestyles, for example by quitting smoking or taking more physical exercise.

The report then gives detailed recommendations for each healthcare stakeholder to follow, including increasing consumer accountability. Regarding healthcare delivery, the authors consider that it is currently “overly focused on episodic acute care and must shift in the nature, mode, and means to include prevention and chronic condition management”.

Earlier in 2007, a report on Financing Sustainable Health Care in Europe was published by the Luxembourg Ministry for Health, the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) and the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (see EURACTIV 13/02/2007). Aiming to advise member states and the EU in their quest to boost healthcare productivity and efficiency, the report called in particular for increased transparency and openness in financing healthcare in Europe. 

“It is shocking how little hard evidence there is across Europe about where the money goes,” said Pat Cox, chairman of the project’s steering committee – adding that market-based mechanisms could achieve much better value for money.

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