The overall objective of this project is to use research methods to describe different primary care models in Europe, assess their quality in different dimensions – particularly access, equity and satisfaction - and determine their cost. We will analyze variations of both quality and costs as they apply to specific organizational models in Europe, and will study the possible trade-offs between quality and costs in each model.
Key research challenges will be the following:
The results of the project will develop, test and apply a valid framework for trans-national comparisons of quality attributes and costs with which to facilitate decision making concerning primary care models, the behavior and delivery of primary care services.
The lack of a common framework to describe Primary Health Care models in the EU has determinate the starting point of this project. Furthermore, it has not been developed a trans-national consensus on how to define quality of Primary Care and costs of Primary Care are not well identified in national accounting systems, either at the macro or micro levels.
The outcome of the project will be a set of research methods and tools to measure quality and cost of primary care services. The results of the project have the potential to create a valid framework for extending this kind of study at European level and propose a common set of quality indicators for primary care. The consortium aims at providing evidence to inform policy decisions on primary care keeping equity, social cohesion, sustainability and quality of health systems as the values underlying the design of primary care models.
Different models of actual application of primary care are in place across Europe. The existence of these differences represents more challenges, especially for guaranteeing cross-border health care in terms of universality, access to good quality care, equity and solidarity, common values of health care in the European Union.
Here we describe the project results expected and the impact they will have for different user groups.
Our study will illustrate the importance of specific organisational policy aspects of primary care, including the impact of those aspects with say, gate-keeping as a key feature versus other models. In particular the approach taken will highlight differences in the behaviour of primary care (for example in comprehensiveness, access to prevention, clinical activities and patient satisfaction) between different models and show how this may affect the quality of healthcare.
The role of scientific research will provide policy makers and societies at large with analysis and options for action and an understanding that there may not be a “right” solution to the problems but rather socially acceptable balance of values considering different opportunity costs.
Previous works have identified models for establishing sustainable health information and knowledge systems on the state and development of primary care systems in Europe and for developing indicators for assessing quality in primary care.
The methodologies developed in this project will put primary care not only in the “driver’s seat” of the health system but will inform policy making to support it with the necessary resources and evidence data to run primary care adequately and prove it is a worthwhile healthcare system investment.