The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 223–232

A cross-national perspective on cost of illness

A comparison of studies from The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, and Sweden
  • Johan J. Polder
  • Willem Jan Meerding
  • Luc Bonneux
  • Paul J. van der Maas
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/s10198-005-0295-0

Cite this article as:
Polder, J.J., Meerding, W.J., Bonneux, L. et al. Eur J Health Econ (2005) 6: 223. doi:10.1007/s10198-005-0295-0

Abstract

All Western health systems are in search of efficiency. Cost of illness (COI) studies can contribute to the efficiency debate by elucidating the relation between health expenditure and health status and population demography. Since the purpose of COI data being summarized in the OECD Health Data publications is to facilitate cross-national comparisons, it is important to assess the comparability. We compared COI data from six countries at macrolevel of total health expenditure and disaggregated the data from four countries to sectors such as hospitals, drugs, health professionals, and residential care. Although the distribution of health expenditure over major diseases showed similar patterns in all countries, overall comparability was bad. We conclude that the current scope of COI studies is bound to national levels because health care systems dominate the magnitude and distribution of health expenditure. Cross-national comparisons may be possible if data and methods are standardized, and COI estimates are made for a common comparable package.

Keywords

Cost of illness International comparison Health care system Methodology Epidemiology 

Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan J. Polder
    • 1
    • 3
  • Willem Jan Meerding
    • 2
  • Luc Bonneux
    • 2
  • Paul J. van der Maas
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute for Public Health and the EnvironmentCentre for Public Health ForecastingBilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthErasmus Medical CentreRotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.National Institute for Public Health and the EnvironmentCentre for Public Health ForecastingBilthovenThe Netherlands

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