The OECD began investigating the quality of the health system in Israel a year ago. It sent an international delegation of health and health policy experts to Israel in November 2011, which also included professionals from outside the OECD.
During the delegation’s stay in Israel, they met independently both with the heads of the health system in Israel and with clinics and hospitals throughout the country. The delegation toured the following hospitals: Tel Hashomer, Rambam, Hadassah, Ichilov and Soroka. The delegation also visited health fund (kupot Holim) clinics in Dimona, Segev Shalom and Zarzir, visited the Tipat Halav baby care center in an unrecognized Bedouin settlement in the Negev, met with representatives of patients rights organizations in the Arab population and among Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia, and met with representatives of various employer organizations such as the Israeli Medical Association. The international delegation completed its investigation in the course of 2012, and is currently completing the writing of the final report. The final and comprehensive report will be made public on 26.11.2012. On that date, representatives of the organization will arrive in Israel and present their review and recommendations on inequality in the framework of the third annual conference on /"The Health System Addresses Inequality/". A press conference will be held later on the same day in the presence of the delegation’s representatives, in which all the other sections of the report will be revealed.
- The OECD notes that Israel has established one of the most successful health systems of OECD member states in the past 15 years since the enactment of the National Health Insurance Law.
- While low levels of health spending in Israel are likely to reflect successive years of tight control over spending and the lesser demands of a younger and healthier population, Israel has also made the most of tight budgetary circumstances to build a health care system with high-quality primary health care.
- Among the OECD countries, Israel’s health system is considered particularly good at identifying chronic diseases amongst patients early and supporting those living with a health condition to avoid an unnecessary hospital visit. For example: Israel is cited for its good performance in diabetes care. Efforts by the Government to prevent and control diabetes have contributed to a low number of admissions to hospitals for uncontrolled diabetes among OECD countries – reductions in complications demonstrate ongoing efforts to improve quality of care provided to patients with diabetes.
- Professional personnel: primary care in Israel has benefited from the historic immigration of doctors from the former Soviet Union. It is important to ensure that future doctors and nurses choose a career in primary care and have the skills they need.
- Data collection: clinics in Israel are held accountable by the health funds for their performance through extensive patient data collection. The aforementioned data collection constitutes a major strong point for improving the quality of the health system. Even so, the data collected should be greatly expanded to monitor additional improvements in the quality of the service provided.
- Quality of care in the hospitals: Israel’s hospitals ought to do more to improve the quality of care, and to expand monitoring of the level of service delivered. To achieve this goal, data must be made more readily available and portable across care settings. Making the data collected publicly available allows more scope for competition between funds and providers to occur on the basis of quality. Likewise, information exchange and co-ordination between primary care and hospitals is surprisingly weak and ought to improve.
- Health inequalities: the Israeli population features a complex picture of health inequalities, which must be tackled by acting on multiple fronts. With commendable efforts to date, further action should focus on making services more culturally appropriate, strengthening efforts on prevention and improving data on inequalities. Likewise, health services ought to be more accessible to those who need them. In addition, the rising burden of patients’ out-of-pocket expenditure makes access more difficult for the poorest.