Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Less beds and digitalisation are key to improving healthcare, experts say

28 November 2012

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) - Experts consider the abolition of redundant acute beds in hospitals and the proposed computerisation the most contributing measures to boost health care in the Czech Republic, Czech Health Care Forum (CZF) NGO executive head Michael Vich told reporters yesterday.

On the contrary, the proposal that amalgam fillings not be covered by health insurance any more is assessed as the most harmful measure, Vich added.

Within the CZF's project called the Assessment of Economic and Social Measures in health care, tens of economists, analysts, sociologists and other experts have assessed planned reform measures in health care every three months since 2009.

"According to 55 experts assessing the measures, the proposal for reducing the number of acute care beds and launching a tender for electronic health care in the Czech Republic were the most beneficial in August to October 2012. On the contrary, the proposal that amalgam fillings be paid by patients was the most harmful," Vich said.

Experts agree that the abolition of redundant beds is necessary, but they challenge the way of selecting the hospitals where they should be abolished.

Neither the Health Ministry nor health insurance companies have explained the calculation method by which they concluded that 6000 beds would be abolished as from 2013, Vich said.

Some experts are convinced that health care availability would not be threatened even if more acute beds were abolished, and besides, that the quality of care would increase thanks to its concentration, Vich said.

According to experts, the computerisation of health care is inevitable but the rules of the respective tender must be set properly and the tender must be carried out in compliance with law, Vich noted.

"We must hope that the project of the electronic health files IZIP was a lesson and that the tender will be held with minimal corruption pressures and scandals," Vich said.

He hinted at the VZP general public health insurer's controversial IZIP project that was halted this year since it was overpriced and opaque.

The exclusion of amalgam fillings from the care fully covered by health insurance is nonsense within the current system of funding, experts agree, Vich cited them as saying.

However, a number of experts admit that people would better care for their teeth if they had to pay for fillings.

Children and pensioners should have amalgam fillings covered by insurance at least as a suitable compensatory measure, Vich added.

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