Assessing health care planning - A framework-led comparison of Germany and New Zealand.

Ettelt, S; Fazekas, M; Mays, N; Nolte, E; (2012) Assessing health care planning - A framework-led comparison of Germany and New Zealand. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 106 (1). pp. 50-9. ISSN 0168-8510 DOI:

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OBJECTIVES: With markets and competition dominating much of the debate on health care reform, health care planning has received little scholarly attention in recent years. Yet in many high-income countries, governments have continued to plan some elements of their health care systems. We use a new framework for analysing health care planning organised around the dimensions of 'vision', 'governance' and 'intelligence' to assess the approach in two deliberately contrasting countries, Germany and New Zealand.<br/> METHODS: A review of the literature on health care planning in general and specifically in Germany and New Zealand, supported by key participant interviews.<br/> RESULTS: Planning in both countries largely reflects the different institutional arrangements of their wider health systems. Planning in Germany is fragmented, in part due to federalism and corporatism, with separate approaches in different health care sectors and regions. In contrast, New Zealand's NHS-style health system favours a more hierarchical, integrated approach, with clear lines of accountability, and central government capacity to define objectives and monitor developments. Both countries find it difficult to use planning to align demand for and supply of health care though New Zealand makes some use of population needs assessments to support this process while these are currently absent in Germany.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: While it remains challenging to compare health care systems that are institutionally very different, this new framework for analysing their approaches to planning draws attention to their advantages and disadvantages. It also generates an agenda for future research to improve our understanding of the role and effectiveness of different forms of planning versus, and in combination with, other policy tools to relating health care supply and demand.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 22153724
Web of Science ID: 305106500008


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