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Health target programmes and health care services – any link? A conceptual and comparative study (part 1)

Busse R, Wismar M

Health Policy 59(3): 209-221




Against the background of the separation between health policy being concerned mainly with cost-containment on the one hand and the commitment to 'Health for all' based on health target programmes on the other, we undertook a conceptual and comparative study of the policy documents of national and regional health target programmes in countries of the European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA to analyse (1) whether they define objectives for health care; and (2) whether they have a clear orientation towards health outcomes. With the exception of Australia, health target programmes focus on intervention areas outside health services which explains why they remain in the 'forgotten corner' of health policy. Therefore, there is a need to develop an integrated approach, combining health targets for all possible intervention areas including health services, to fully utilise the potential of health target programmes

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