Mission and vision
Good care is accessible to everyone in the Netherlands and will remain so. This is our core belief and we work to realise it. And we also wish to enter into a discourse with society at large on this subject. After all, good and accessible care is the shared responsibility of everyone. We will all have to make different choices: healthcare providers, care insurers and the government.
In collaboration with the Dutch Healthcare Authority, the National Health Care Institute has carried out a study into how the care sector can continue to improve itself and also remain accessible to everyone in the Netherlands in the future. We presented the results of this study to experts and parties in the care sector. This resulted in an action plan: Working together to realise appropriate care: the future is now.
The principles of Appropriate care
The concept of Appropriate care has a central place in the action plan. Appropriate care is defined as care that complies with 4 principles:
- the care is effective for a reasonable price;
- the care is decided on in collaboration between healthcare professionals and patients;
- the care is organised as close to the patient as possible;
- the care is focused on prevention and health instead of on sickness, and it contributes to the self-reliance and resilience of the persons concerned.
These principles are the guidelines we must follow to ensure that appropriate care is provided. They are not hard and fast rules but serve as rough guidelines without describing in detail what care is appropriate for every possible situation. The principles serve as a compass for everyone working on appropriate care.
Making other choices together
Organising healthcare in accordance with the 4 principles of Appropriate care is a real challenge. It means making other choices in collaboration with each other. Everyone must do so from the perspective of his or her own role and responsibility. For example, when contracting and purchasing care treatments and interventions, the health insurer has the responsibility to take into account the principles of Appropriate care. For their part, healthcare professionals and care institutions must only offer care that has actually proven to be effective. Appropriate care also means that healthcare providers must be proactive in discussing with patients which care is best suited to their personal situation. In some cases, this may result in a choice not to provide treatment but rather to opt for quality of life. And patients and their loved ones – and that includes all of us – will sometimes have to accept the fact that not everything that can be done also should be done or is actually beneficial.
As the party responsible for putting together a good package of insured healthcare, the National Health Care Institute will also have to make other choices. We will continue to study whether the care provided is actually effective for a reasonable price. That is and will remain the first precondition for coverage under the standard health insurance. In addition, we are continuing to sharpen our focus on whether the care provided is also appropriate. Agreements in this regard have already been reached in many sectors in the form of quality frameworks and guidelines. As far as we are concerned, these agreements will be used with increasing frequency to determine whether the cost of care is covered under the standard health insurance. In doing so, we will, in the short term, focus primarily on treatments and medications that have a major impact on society as a whole. In the longer term, we will also make a similar careful evaluation of the entire standard health insurance package and long-term care coverage.
Fulfilling our ambitions
It is an ambitious plan, but we are confident that all the parties concerned have the will to implement any changes that may be necessary. By working together, we can tailor one of the best healthcare systems in the world even more appropriately to the needs of society, so that everyone in the Netherlands continues to have access to good healthcare.