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Diagnosis-Related Groups in Europe (EuroDRG): Do they explain variation in hospital costs and length of stay across patients and hospitals?

Busse R, Geissler A, Mason A, Or Z, Scheller-Kreinsen D, Street A (Eds.)
Health Economics, Volume 21 (Supplement 2)





Since the development of the first classification of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) in the 1970s, the number of DRG systems has proliferated, with many countries developing their own versions, which are periodically overhauled. The original intention was that DRGs would classify patients into a manageable number of resource homogenous groups, and this remains the fundamental basis for classification. However, herein lies a puzzle: is variation in medical practice and resource use so great across countries that each requires its own patient classification system? Or are some DRG systems better than others at categorising patients into resource homogenous groups?

To address these questions, we consider patients admitted to hospitals in 10 European countries for one of 10 conditions, which we define as episodes of care (EoCs). The empirical articles in this special issue of Health Economics apply a common analytical strategy to examine the DRG classifications used in each of these countries in terms of how well they explain variations in resource use for patients having the same EoC.

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