Background: Health systems in Europe traditionally developed to treat acute diseases. Currently, the greatest burden comes from chronic conditions, and an urgent response is needed to improve chronic care.
Objective: To propose a framework for international comparison of regional health systems as regards to their organization for chronic care and to apply this framework for comparison between three European Union regions: Basque country (Spain), Veneto region (Italy), and Wales (UK). Methods: Model for comparison was built along the 10 characteristics of high-performing chronic care systems proposed by Ham in 2010. Each of the 10 characteristics was operationalized, and available data for the three selected regions retrieved from secondary data sources.
Results: A framework for regional benchmarking with focus on chronic care was developed and applied for comparison of the health systems. Differences between chronic care management were identified at the level of primary care organization, resources, and financing, prevention programmes, and patient education. The interpretation of results was limited by the lack of comparable datasets.
Conclusion: International cross-regional comparison is a useful tool for mutual learning on health policy and organization, which is however limited by the lack of internationally comparable health and healthcare data at regional level.
- Chronic care model
- Chronic diseases
- Comparative research
- Healthcare management
- Healthcare systems