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Measuring efficiency in health care

With the healthcare sector accounting for a sizeable proportion of national expenditures, the pursuit of efficiency has become a central objective of policymakers within most health systems. However, the analysis and measurement of efficiency is a complex undertaking, not least due to the multiple objectives of health care organizations and the many gaps in information systems. In response to this complexity, research in organizational efficiency analysis has flourished. This book examines some of the most important techniques currently available to measure the efficiency of systems and organizations, including data envelopment analysis and stochastic frontier analysis, and also presents some promising new methodological approaches. Such techniques offer the prospect of many new and fruitful insights into health care performance. Nevertheless, they also pose many practical and methodological challenges. This is a timely critical assessment of the strengths and limitations of efficiency analysis applied to health and health care.

This book:

  • Examines the relevance of efficiency analysis to health care
  • Offers a constructive but critical perspective, often lacking in many efficiency analysis texts
  • Examines the implications for policy of using efficiency models


  • Efficiency in health care
  • The components of an efficiency model
  • Stochastic frontier analysis of cross-sectional data
  • Stochastic frontier analysis of panel data
  • Data envelopment analysis
  • The Malmquist Index
  • A comparison of SFA and DEA
  • Unresolved issues and challenges in efficiency measurement
  • Some alternative approaches to measuring performance
  • Conclusions

Measuring Efficiency in Health Care

Measuring efficiency in health care

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