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Challenges for performance assessment and improvement in primary health care: The case of the Portuguese health centres

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  • Amado, Carla Alexandra da Encarnação Filipe
  • Santos, Sérgio Pereira dos

Abstract

Primary care is currently at the heart of health service policy, both in Portugal and internationally. At the same time, interest in the measurement of efficiency of health care delivery has increased considerably. However, very few studies have focused specifically on performance assessment in primary health care provision. In this paper we aim to contribute to a discussion regarding appropriate ways to compare the performance of primary health care providers. Following a review of the literature, a conceptual framework for performance assessment of health centres is developed and tested using the Portuguese case. Our empirical analysis uses data from 2004 and 2005 for all the Portuguese health centres and compares the geographical equity of access to services, technical efficiency and quality of services across district health authorities. Data envelopment analysis is the technique used to measure technical efficiency. From our empirical analysis, we conclude that there is evidence of large variation in equity of access to services, in technical efficiency and quality of services across district health authorities. Our findings suggest that a better use of resources could lead to more and improved services. Whilst formative evaluation could contribute to this, the challenge is to engage health care professionals in the evaluation exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Amado, Carla Alexandra da Encarnação Filipe & Santos, Sérgio Pereira dos, 2009. "Challenges for performance assessment and improvement in primary health care: The case of the Portuguese health centres," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 43-56, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:91:y:2009:i:1:p:43-56
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nikolaos Oikonomou & Yannis Tountas & Argiris Mariolis & Kyriakos Souliotis & Kostas Athanasakis & John Kyriopoulos, 2016. "Measuring the efficiency of the Greek rural primary health care using a restricted DEA model; the case of southern and western Greece," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 313-325, December.
    2. Pelone, Ferruccio & Kringos, Dionne Sofia & Valerio, Luca & Romaniello, Alessandro & Lazzari, Agnese & Ricciardi, Walter & de Belvis, Antonio Giulio, 2012. "The measurement of relative efficiency of general practice and the implications for policy makers," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 258-268.
    3. Thanassoulis, Emmanuel & Silva Portela, Maria C.A. & Graveney, Mike, 2012. "Estimating the scope for savings in referrals and drug prescription costs in the general Practice units of a UK primary care trust," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 221(2), pages 432-444.
    4. Cordero Ferrera, Jose Manuel & Alonso Morán, Edurne & Nuño Solís, Roberto & Orueta, Juan F. & Souto Arce, Regina, 2013. "Efficiency assessment of primary care providers: A conditional nonparametric approach," MPRA Paper 51926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:spr:annopr:v:247:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10479-015-2056-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Luis Murillo-Zamorano & Carmelo Petraglia, 2011. "Technical efficiency in primary health care: does quality matter?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 12(2), pages 115-125, April.
    7. John Buckell & Andrew Smith & Roberta Longo & David Holland, 2013. "Health inefficiency and unobservable heterogeneity - empirical evidence from pathology services in the UK National Health Service," Working Papers 1307, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
    8. repec:spr:annopr:v:250:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-015-1854-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Podinovski, Victor V. & Bouzdine-Chameeva, Tatiana, 2016. "On single-stage DEA models with weight restrictions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(3), pages 1044-1050.
    10. Thanassoulis, Emmanuel & Silva Portela, Maria C.A. & Graveney, Mike, 2014. "Using DEA to estimate potential savings at GP units at medical specialty level," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 38-48.
    11. Cordero, José Manuel & Alonso-Morán, Edurne & Nuño-Solinis, Roberto & Orueta, Juan F. & Arce, Regina Sauto, 2015. "Efficiency assessment of primary care providers: A conditional nonparametric approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(1), pages 235-244.
    12. M. C. Gouveia & L. C. Dias & C. H. Antunes & M. A. Mota & E. M. Duarte & E. M. Tenreiro, 2016. "An application of value-based DEA to identify the best practices in primary health care," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 38(3), pages 743-767, July.

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