Health systems performance assessment


Assessing the performance of health systems is useful to properly understand how they work, and therefore to carry out actions to improve them.
Performance assessment offers the transparency that is essential for securing accountability for health systems, thereby improving their functioning.

A sound assessment is essential to:

  • identify good and bad practice;
  • strengthen effectiveness of care;
  • increase accessibility;
  • improve the safety of patients.

Knowing how the health system work is the precondition to design effective health system reforms for the benefit of citizens.

Developing effective, accessible and resilient health systems

European health systems have to be accessible and able to improve people’s health, even and particularly in times of economic challenges. In its Communication, the Commission  expresses its view on how to help Member States achieve this important goal.

The reflection process on modern, responsive and sustainable health systems

With reference to health systems performance assessment, in 2011, the European Council Working Party on Public Health at Senior Level decided to focus on the following actions: 

  • Improve policy usefulness of comparisons by:
    • Suggesting actions towards increased visibility, transparency and validity of comparison, and increased efficiency by diminishing the work of data capturing
    • Developing a basis for policy decisions on prioritised areas for comparison and assessment.
  • Exchange experience and knowledge between Member States and other actors

Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (HSPA)

The Commission set up an Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (HSPA) with the goal to provide Member States with a forum for exchange of experience on the use of HSPA at national level, and to support national policy-makers by identifying tools and methodologies to develop HSPA.

This group will also define criteria and procedures for selecting priority areas for HSPA at national level and EU-wide, in order to illustrate and better understand variations in the performance of national health systems. The group also intends to intensify EU cooperation with international organisations, in particular the OECD and the WHO.