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Health Systems in Transition Template

Allin S, Busse R, Dixon A, Figueras J, Mcdaid D, Mossialos E, Nolte E, Rico A, Riesberg A, Thomson S

Copenhagen: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies





The Health Systems in Transition (HiT) profiles are country-based reports that provide a detailed description of a health system and of policy initiatives in progress or under development. They are produced by country experts in collaboration with the Observatory staff. The profiles are based on a template which, revised periodically, provides detailed guidelines and specific questions, definitions and examples needed to compile HiTs. However, there might be cases where certain information may not be available in a specific country, or where the template may be too restrictive in terms of how the information and analysis are presented. It is important to highlight that this template is intended to be used in a flexible way to allow authors and edtors to adapt it to their particular national context. This edition of the template and questionnaire is a more comprehensive version of the template from 1999 and incorporates the many useful comments and suggestions from users and contributors.
The HiTs are building blocks that can be used to:
• examine different approaches to the organization, financing and delivery
of health services and the role of the main actors in health systems;
• describe the institutional framework, process, content and implementation
of health and health care policies;
• highlight challenges and areas that require more in-depth analysis;
• provide a tool for the dissemination of information on health systems and
the exchange of experiences of reform strategies between policy-makers
and analysts in different countries;
• assist other researchers in more in-depth comparative health policy
Compiling the HiTs poses a number of methodological problems. In many
countries, there is relatively little information available on the health system
and the impact of policies and reforms. Owing to the lack of a uniform data
source, quantitative data on health services are based on a number of different
sources, including Eurostat, the European Health for All database, the World
Bank, national statistical offices, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) Health Data, InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF), and
any other relevant sources considered useful by the authors. We acknowledge
that data collection methods and definitions vary, but authors are encouraged
to identify differences and report them in the country profiles.
A standardized profile has certain disadvantages because the institutional
framework, and the financing and delivery of health care differ across
countries. However, it also offers advantages, because it raises similar issues and
questions. If the template is used in a flexible way, it is likely that differences
will be seen across country profiles in content and comprehensiveness,
although they will still be comparable.
Unfortunately we have not been able to accommodate several suggestions, and
we understand that this type of exercise in which we try to address several
aspects of the health system has many limitations. While the HiTs may not
always be up to date, the other Observatory publications, Eurohealth, Euro
Observer, and reports by other organizations are available on our web site
(www.euro.who.int/observatory) under “country information”. We also hope to
update this HiT template in four years.
Comments and suggestions for the further development and improvement of
the HiTs are most welcome and can be sent to info@obs.euro.who.int. HiTs
and HiT summaries are available on the Observatory’s web site. A glossary of
terms used in the HiTs can be found at: www.euro.who.int/observatory/

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