The objective of the International Research Project on Financing Quality in Healthcare InterQuality has been to investigate the effects of financing systems on the quality of healthcare. The study, based on administrative and survey data, has been designed for 42 months. Four different patient groups (sectors), affected by: hospital, outpatient, pharmaceutical and integrated care, have been taken into account.
The scope of research covers: utilization of resources and efficiency, equity of access, quality of care, including: outcomes, safety of treatment and patient satisfaction . Resources allocated by each sector have been analysed in relation to risk of their overuse, underuse or misuse. Critical appraisal of individual contracts was based on the New Institutional Economics Theory. Principal-Agent theoretical framework, the new standard approach to modelling relationships between payers and providers in healthcare, has been applied to the analysis of reimbursement schemes.
The first two work-packages have prepared theoretical background and collected statistical data in the required format. Dedicated Data Warehouse has been launched and exploited by project participants. Work-packages 3-6 have performed core analytical work by identification of country-specific institutional settings, development of sector-specific financing models and organizational solutions and delivering expected project results.
InterQuality has sought answers to how the healthcare systems are financed in Europe, what their shortcomings and strengths are, and how the healthcare financing reforms are implemented and communicated to the public by the main actors, namely the governments.
Spending more on healthcare does not necessarily translate into improved quality, effectiveness and access to healthcare services. Resources wasted through poor management could be well spent on drugs and new equipment, or directed towards the reduction of the waiting lists.
The rationale behind InterQuality is the acknowledgement that increasing healthcare spending often does not improve quality, efficiency or availability of healthcare services. The recent healthcare financing reforms undertaken in Europe have encountered serious technical and political difficulties.
Therefore, there was a clear need to develop scientifically proven tools to help decision-makers in the selection of appropriate financing mechanisms in different areas of the healthcare system. (This should go hand in hand with stakeholders consultations).
InterQuality specific objectives in brief:
InterQuality main results:
The knowledge gained from InterQuality Project provides a valuable contribution to European Union Member States ability to choose the right financing mechanisms for different areas of their healthcare system, according to their needs and resources, and ultimately to pay not more, but smarter.
Development of scientifically validated tools will help decision makers to select the most appropriate financing mechanisms for healthcare systems, responding to needs and resources at hand.
What is also important, the InterQuality Project will generate an important amount of data in the form of InterQuality Data Warehouse. This Internet tool has been developed for collaborative partners of the InterQuality Project and is currently administrated by the Medical University of Warsaw. The primary advantage of the Data Warehouse is that it provides easy access to a large amount of high-quality information, structured in multi-dimensional tables (called the data cubes). This is of particular importance for researchers who analyse healthcare data, sourced from independent institutions and dispersed in many various organizational and legal systems in different countries.