OECD’s “Health at a Glance 2023” reports on the State of Global Health Systems
OECD Indicators Reveal Trends in Health Spending, Digital Health, and Systemic Transformation
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its “Health at a Glance 2023” report, offering a critical analysis of health system performance and health indicators across member and partner countries.
Health Spending: A Global Perspective
The report notes that in 2019, before the pandemic, OECD countries spent an average of 8.8% of their GDP on healthcare. This figure spiked to 9.7% by 2021 due to pandemic-related expenditures but is estimated to fall to 9.2% in 2022. This fluctuation reflects the dynamic nature of health spending in response to global health emergencies and economic conditions.
Digital Health: The Frontier of Healthcare Evolution
In a world where technology and healthcare increasingly intersect, the “Health at a Glance 2023: OECD Indicators” report provides a crucial analysis of digital health’s role in transforming healthcare systems globally. This section of the report delves into the integration of digital tools like electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine, and artificial intelligence (AI) into routine care, emphasizing an integrated approach that supports the responsible use of AI and analytics page 36.
Data-Driven Healthcare: A Closer Look at Digital Health
Digital health extends beyond eHealth, encompassing a broader range of smart devices, connected equipment, and digital therapeutics. It includes the use of big data, the Internet of things, AI, robotics, and analytics for health system improvement, public health preparedness, and research and innovation.
Digital Readiness: A Determinant of Health
The report identifies digital readiness as a determinant of health, influencing well-being and health system transformations. It outlines the dimensions of digital health readiness, which include analytic, health data, technology, and human factor readiness, all designed to optimize health outcomes.
Digital Health During COVID-19: An Evidence-Informed Response
The pandemic has highlighted the critical role of digital health in evidence-informed policy responses. It was instrumental in measuring lab results, supporting contact tracing, and optimizing the use of personal protective equipment. The integration of healthcare data with public health surveillance improved infection control measures and public communication.
Digital Infrastructure: The Backbone of Resilient Health Systems
Countries with strong digital systems for collecting and sharing health information were better equipped to respond to the pandemic. Such systems allowed for evidence-based policy making and a more agile response to health crises.
The Impact of Digital Health Readiness
The report examines the correlation between digital health readiness and health outcomes. Preliminary results from various studies suggest that good digital health readiness can lead to better responses to health emergencies, improved use of acute care resources, lower costs, and enhanced patient experiences.
Case Studies: Real-World Examples of Digital Health Benefits
In the United States, a study correlated digital health maturity with health outcomes, showing that higher digital maturity is associated with better safety, patient experiences, and fewer adverse events. In the United Kingdom, the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust implemented a remote-monitoring service for heart and lung diseases, resulting in high patient satisfaction and reduced acute care admissions.
Health Systems: Adapting to New Realities
The report delves into the determinants of health, including socio-economic factors and lifestyle choices, and how they shape health system demands. It suggests that robust health systems, supported by adequate funding and digital innovation, are essential to address current and future health challenges.
In conclusion, the “Health at a Glance 2023” report underscores the transformative potential of digital health. As countries strive to realize this potential, the report calls for overcoming significant barriers to ensure readiness for digital transformation, ultimately aiming for a healthcare system that is more efficient, equitable, and responsive to the needs of the population.