Transparency of the Swiss healthcare system only average in international comparison

Media Release: Transparency in the healthcare system

Greater transparency in the healthcare system should boost the quality of medical services and help stabilize costs over the long term. Yet we still have a long way to go: In an international comparison of transparency, Switzerland only ranks in the lower middle range. This is one of the findings of KPMG’s global study entitled “Through the looking glass”.

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The Swiss healthcare system is in a state of transition, with hospitals reassessing the issue of funding and how to ensure the quality of their services. Greater transparency is viewed as a means of boosting the quality of medical care provided while also contributing to long-term cost stability.

KPMG’s global study entitled “Through the looking glass” compared six transparency-related dimensions of 32 healthcare systems and compiled the results in an index. This study examined transparency with regard to the quality of healthcare, patient experience, finance, governance, personal healthcare data and communication of healthcare data. All in all, Switzerland earned a score of 53% which merely placed it mid-table in the international ranking. Denmark (74%), Finland (72%) and Sweden (71%), on the other hand, top the healthcare transparency ranking. 

Wide variations across the different dimensions of transparency

The Swiss healthcare system performed quite differently depending on the transparency dimension examined: While transparency in the national healthcare system is relatively high in terms of governance (69%), the patient experience (69%) and finance (67%), there is significant room for improvement with regard to the communication of healthcare data (36%) and the quality of healthcare (33%).

  • Due to Switzerland’s principle of public access and the freedom of information, the Swiss healthcare system achieved a high score of 69% in terms of governance. The highest-ranking countries for this dimension are Denmark and New Zealand which each came in at 94%.
  • Many Swiss healthcare providers evaluate and publish their patient satisfaction ratings. They also operate a complaints management system that offers patients a channel for providing feedback on treatment and where they can always find updates on the status of their feedback. Switzerland scored correspondingly well in terms of patient experience where it earned 69%. Israel ranked highest with 92%.
  • The Swiss healthcare system is also relatively transparent with regard to the finance dimension (67%). Contributing factors here include health insurance premiums and a fee schedule for medical treatments which are defined and published by the Federal Council as well as the annual reports published by most hospitals, insurance companies, laboratory facilities and other market players.
  • By contrast, the Swiss healthcare system has quite a lot of catching up to do with respect to transparency in terms of both the quality of healthcare (33%) and the communication of healthcare data (36%). Even though the Swiss healthcare system boasts a comprehensive reporting system for medical treatments performed and their outcomes, the providers of those services are not obligated to actually make this data accessible to the public. With a score of 93%, Finland is the undisputed leader in this dimension of the index.

Table: Switzerland only ranks in the lower middle range in KPMG’s international transparency index

Methodology

KPMG’s study entitled “Through the looking glass” uses 27 indicators to examine six dimensions of transparency and compare 32 different healthcare systems. The results are compiled to form the transparency index. The dimensions examined are: the quality of healthcare, patient experience, finance, governance, personal healthcare data and communication of healthcare data. Twenty-five interviews with experts were also conducted within the scope of the study.

Global Health Transparency Map

Global Health Transparency Map

KPMG’s study uses 27 indicators to examine six dimensions of transparency and compare 32 different healthcare systems.

Healthcare

Healthcare

The new way hospitals are financed and increasing cost pressure are challenging hospitals and other stakeholders.

© 2017 KPMG Holding AG is a member of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss legal entity. All rights reserved.

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