January 19, 2021
Readout of HHS Deputy Secretary Hargan's Call with Healthcare Experts on Aligning International Health Metrics
Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan convened a call with healthcare experts to discuss a recently published report by the RAND Corporation comparing national and international approaches to measures of national health system performance, which is being issued alongside and an Executive Summary set out by policymakers within the Office of the Secretary (OS).
The report, commissioned by HHS, assessed the robustness of existing metrics tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and proposed new metrics based on an extensive literature review by a panel of twenty nationally recognized experts, with the goal of improving the current international health comparison metric portfolio. The report also describes twenty-five proposed new measure concepts that underwent expert evaluation and analyzes them for use in international comparisons.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a clear need to strengthen the global healthcare system and the vital importance individual country's healthcare systems play in the global response to pandemic-level threats. Policymakers and healthcare providers are increasingly looking at ways to draw comparisons between their own countries' healthcare system and others to evaluate functionality and success. However, these terms can be difficult to define on their own, and differences among nations can further confound comparison. The guidelines introduced through the RAND report and highlighted in the Executive Summary are designed to align healthcare system measures and orient them around more comprehensive, value-based models that emphasize the needs of patients and provide policymakers with a better understanding of the quality and functionality of the systems they help to oversee.
During the call, Deputy Secretary Hargan thanked the participants for their attention to the need for better collaboration among nations in aligning healthcare measures, and emphasized the important role public-private partnerships play in furthering this effort. Participants remarked on some of the existing challenges with international health comparisons, such as defining and aligning terms like 'quality' and 'access' between disparate health systems. There was wide consensus among participants that aligning quality measures would produce better health outcomes and that the report was a critical first step to building a roadmap for policymakers.
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