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Schwierz C.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center
Health Economics | Year: 2011

Over the last 20 years, acute-care hospitals in most OECD countries have built up costly overcapacities. From the perspective of economic policy, it is desirable to know how hospitals of different ownership forms respond to changes in demand and are probably best suited to deal with existing overcapacities. This article examines ownership-specific differences in the responsiveness to changes in demand for hospital services in Germany between 1996 and 2006. With respect to the speed of adaptation to increasing demand, the study finds for-profit ownership to be superior to public and nonprofit ownership. However, contrary to other ownership types, for-profits also tend to expand in markets with decreasing demand - mainly through conversions of publicly owned hospitals. Thus, in short term, the privatization of the hospital sector may slow down the reduction of excess capacities and be therefore socially wasteful. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Chalon P.X.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center | Kraemer P.,Deutsches Institute For Medizinische Dokumentation Und Information Dimdi
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care | Year: 2015

Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the techniques used in achieving consensus on common standards to be implemented in the EUnetHTA Information Management System (IMS); and to describe how interoperability between tools was explored. Methods: Three face to face meetings were organized to identify and agree on common standards to the development of online tools. Two tools were created to demonstrate the added value of implementing interoperability standards at local levels. Developers of tools outside EUnetHTA were identified and contacted. Results: Four common standards have been agreed on by consensus; and consequently all EUnetHTA tools have been modified or designed accordingly. RDF Site Summary (RSS) has demonstrated a good potential to support rapid dissemination of HTA information. Contacts outside EUnetHTA resulted in direct collaboration (HTA glossary, HTAi Vortal), evaluation of options for interoperability between tools (CRD HTA database) or a formal framework to prepare cooperation on concrete projects (INAHTA projects database). Conclusions: While being entitled a project on IT infrastructure, the work program was also about people. When having to agree on complex topics, fostering a cohesive group dynamic and hosting face to face meetings brings added value and enhances understanding between partners. The adoption of widespread standards enhanced the homogeneity of the EUnetHTA tools and should thus contribute to their wider use, therefore, to the general objective of EUnetHTA. The initiatives on interoperability of systems need to be developed further to support a general interoperable information system that could benefit the whole HTA community. Copyright © 2015 Cambridge University Press.

Franken M.,Erasmus University Rotterdam | Le Polain M.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center | Cleemput I.,Hasselt University | Koopmanschap M.,Erasmus University Rotterdam
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care | Year: 2012

Objectives: The aim of our study is to compare five European drug reimbursement systems, describe similarities and differences, and obtain insight into their strengths and weaknesses and formulate policy recommendations. Methods: We used the analytical Hutton Framework to assess in detail drug reimbursement systems in Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We investigated policy documents, explored literature, and conducted fifty-seven interviews with relevant stakeholders. Results: All systems aim to balance three main objectives: system sustainability, equity and quality of care. System impact, however, is mainly assessed by drug expenditure. A national reimbursement agency evaluates reimbursement requests on a case-by-case basis. The minister has discretionary power to alter the reimbursement advice in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. All systems make efforts to increase transparency in the decision-making process but none uses formal hierarchical reimbursement criteria nor applies a cost-effectiveness threshold value. Policies to deal with uncertainty vary: financial risk-sharing by price/volume contracts (France, Belgium) versus coverage with evidence development (Sweden, the Netherlands). Although case-by-case revisions are embedded in some systems for specific groups of drugs, systematic (group) revisions are limited. Conclusions: As shared strengths, all systems have clear objectives reflected in reimbursement criteria and all are prepared to pay for drugs with sufficient added value. However, all systems could improve the transparency of the decision-making process; especially appraisal lacks transparency. Systems could increase the use of (systematic) revisions and could make better use of HTA (among others cost-effectiveness) to obtain value for money and ensure system sustainability. © Copyright 2012 Cambridge University Press.

Lievens Y.,Ghent University | Obyn C.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center | Mertens A.-S.,Mobius NV SA | Halewyck D.V.,Mobius NV SA | Hulstaert F.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center
Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Year: 2015

Introduction: Despite the lack of randomized evidence, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is being accepted as superior to conventional radiotherapy for patients with T1-2N0 non-small-cell lung cancer in the periphery of the lung and unfit or unwilling to undergo surgery. To introduce SBRT in a system of coverage with evidence development, a correct financing had to be determined. Methods: A time-driven activity-based costing model for radiotherapy was developed. Resource cost calculation of all radiotherapy treatments, standard and innovative, was conducted in 10 Belgian radiotherapy centers in the second half of 2012. Results: The average cost of lung SBRT across the 10 centers (6221€) is in the range of the average costs of standard fractionated 3D-conformal radiotherapy (5919€) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (7379€) for lung cancer. Hypofractionated 3D-conformal radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy schemes are less costly (3993€ respectively 4730€). The SBRT cost increases with the number of fractions and is highly dependent of personnel and equipment use. SBRT cost varies more by centre than conventional radiotherapy cost, reflecting different technologies, stages in the learning curve and a lack of clear guidance in this field. Conclusions: Time-driven activity-based costing of radiotherapy is feasible in a multicentre setup, resulting in real-life resource costs that can form the basis for correct reimbursement schemes, supporting an early yet controlled introduction of innovative radiotherapy techniques in clinical practice. © 2014 by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Neyt M.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center | Hulstaert F.,Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center | Gyselaers W.,Hospital Oost Limburg | Gyselaers W.,Hasselt University
BMJ Open | Year: 2014

Background: The first- and second-trimester screening for trisomy 21 (T21) are reimbursed for all pregnant women in Belgium. Using a cut-off risk of 1:300 for T21, about 5% of all pregnant women are referred for definitive prenatal diagnosis using an invasive test, at a sensitivity of (only) 72.5%. The sensitivity and specificity of the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) are over 99% but come at a cost of €460 (£373) per test. The objective is to estimate the consequences of introducing NIPT for the detection of T21.Methods: A cost-consequences analysis was performed presenting the impact on benefits, harms and costs. Context-specific real-world information was available to set up a model reflecting the current screening situation in Belgium. This model was used to construct the second and first line NIPT screening scenarios applying information from the literature on NIPT's test accuracy.Results: Introducing NIPT in the first or second line reduces harm by decreasing the number of procedurerelated miscarriages after invasive testing. In contrast with NIPT in the second line, offering NIPT in the first line additionally will miss fewer cases of T21 due to less false-negative test results. The introduction of NIPT in the second line results in cost savings, which is not true for NIPT at the current price in the first line. If NIPT is offered to all pregnant women, the price should be lowered to about €150 to keep the screening cost per T21 diagnosis constant.Conclusions: In Belgium, the introduction and reimbursement of NIPT as a second line triage test significantly reduces procedure-related miscarriages without increasing the short-term screening costs. Offering and reimbursing NIPT in the first line to all pregnant women is preferred in the long term, as it would, in addition, miss fewer cases of T21. However, taking into account the government's limited resources for universal reimbursement, the price of NIPT should first be lowered substantially before this can be realised.

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