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Norwegian Ministry of Health Announces New Hospital Quality Measures

Written by Berit Bringedal

Norwegian public hospitals have been required since 2003 to publish data on quality indicators such as patient satisfaction, hospital acquired infections, survival rates for specific surgeries, and surgery wait times. However, problems in utilizing hospital information have arisen due to lack of reliable data and restricted public access to these measures. In response, the Norwegian Health Minister announced in January 2011 that all public hospitals will now be obligated to deliver reliable and publicly available quality measures (see full list below). A number of these quality measures were required before, but some hospitals have not been adhering to the requirement. Incentives or penalties have not been specified.

According to the Patient Rights Act, Norwegians have the right to choose between hospitals. Therefore, access to quality data is critical. Hospital performance data are accessible to Norwegians through; however, the collection of data on the hospitals’ part has varied to a large extent. For example, two of the largest public hospitals have not input data on their indicators. In addition to providing patients with necessary information, quality data are crucial for hospital management. The Health Ministry’s January announcement aims to address these issues.

Norwegian hospitals’ quality indicators

  • Epicrisis time (time before the epicrisis reaches the patient’s family doctor)
  • Number of makeshift arrangements in corridors (refers to patients who are already admitted and to the situation where the number of admitted patients exceeds the number of beds in patient rooms)
  • Frequency of C-sections
  • Individual plans for rehab of children
  • Preoperative time for upper femur fractures
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Postponement of planned surgery
  • Waiting time for colon cancer surgery
  • Patient satisfaction (Patients' evaluations of quality of care, information provided, organization, attention to relatives, and technical standards)
  • Relatives’ satisfaction (Same as above)
  • Number of involuntary commitments to psychiatric wards
  • Waiting time for consultation with psychiatric wards
  • Individual plan for children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
  • Family doctors’ judgment of collaboration with specialist psychiatric care

The Norwegian Ministry of Health, The Norwegian Directorate for Health,  

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