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Cost and reimbursement of cataract surgery in Europe: a cross-country comparison


  • Giovanni Fattore

    (CERGAS and Institute of Public Administration and Health Care, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)

  • Aleksandra Torbica

    (CERGAS and Institute of Public Administration and Health Care, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)


The number of cataract extractions has increased substantially over time. At present, cataract surgery is estimated to be the most common single procedure performed in the developed world. The present study compares the costs of a cataract intervention across nine European countries. To enhance comparability, data were collected using a common template based on a case vignette. Adequate data for analysis were collected from 41 providers and were used to evaluate variation across countries and providers. Ordinary least squares and a multilevel model were used to investigate cost variation. Mean total costs per cataract intervention varied considerably from country to country, ranging from €318 in Hungary to €1087 in Italy. Variations of a similar magnitude were detected for personnel costs and overheads. However, variations in the cost of the lens were more modest. Overall, our results confirm expectations about the causes of cost variations across EU member states, indicating that these variations may be attributable to the quantity of resources used in performing the operation, the price of resources, and the type of setting in which the operation is performed. The study highlights how accounting practices and available cost data differ across Europe. It also shows the feasibility of collecting data on the basis of vignettes using common cost templates. Studies following this approach will gain importance if cross-country comparisons are to be used to promote European benchmarking exercises. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Fattore & Aleksandra Torbica, 2008. "Cost and reimbursement of cataract surgery in Europe: a cross-country comparison," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages 71-82.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:s1:p:s71-s82
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1324

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonas Schreyögg & Tom Stargardt & Oliver Tiemann & Reinhard Busse, 2006. "Methods to determine reimbursement rates for diagnosis related groups (DRG): A comparison of nine European countries," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 215-223, August.
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    1. Reinhard Busse & Jonas Schreyögg & Peter C. Smith, 2008. "Variability in healthcare treatment costs amongst nine EU countries - results from the Health BASKET project," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages 1-8.

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