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DRG-type payment systems and technological innovation: reimbursement approaches in 11 European countries

Scheller-Kreinsen D, Quentin W, Busse R
Value in Health: 14(8): 1166-1172 (DOI 10.1016/j.jval.2011.07.001)





To assess how diagnosis-related group–based (DRG-based) hospital payment systems in 12 European countries participating in the EuroDRG project pay and incorporate technological innovation.



A standardized questionnaire was used to guide comprehensive DRG system descriptions. Researchers from each country reviewed relevant materials to complete the questionnaire and drafted standardized country reports. Two characteristics of DRG-based hospital payment systems were identified as particularly important: the existence of short-term payment instruments encouraging technological innovation in different countries, and the characteristics of long-term updating mechanisms that assure technological innovation is ultimately incorporated into DRG-based hospital payment systems.



Short-term payment instruments and long-term updating mechanisms differ greatly among the 12 European countries included in this study. Some countries operate generous short-term payment instruments that provide additional payments to hospitals for making use of technological innovation (e.g., France). Other countries update their DRG-based hospital payment systems very frequently and use more recent data for updates.



Generous short-term payment instruments to promote technological innovation should be applied carefully as they may imply rapidly increasing health-care expenditures. In general, they should be granted only if rigorous analyses have demonstrated their benefits. If the evidence remains uncertain, coverage with evidence development frameworks or frequent updates of the DRG-based hospital systems may provide policy alternatives. Once the data and evidence base is substantially improved, future research should empirically investigate how different policy arrangements affect the adoption and use of technological innovation and health-care expenditures.

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