21 februari 2017 • Ruben Kofman
‘The quality of care is not determined by the number of check marks’
In his inaugural lecture on Friday, 17 February, Joost van der Sijp, head of the Oncological Care Research Group, argued in favour of using quality of life to measure outcome, not cost effectiveness or a list of performance indicators. Thanks to this research group, The Hague University of Applied Sciences will be able to play an important role in applied scientific research.
According to Van der Sijp, there is quite a bit of focus on cost in health care and a sense of perspective is needed. In the Netherlands, we spend around 15% of the Gross National Product on health care, but around 42 million euros of that amount goes to hospital care (intramural care). The rest goes to ‘social care’, fulfilling the requirements of the Dutch Social Support Act (WMO), mental health care, asylum seeker centres, and so on. A clearer distinction should be made between ‘health care’ and ‘social care services’. ‘And,’ says Van der Sijp, ‘We are still spending more on housing, mobility and holidays than care costs.’ He also considers care costs an investment. ‘For every euro spent by the government, there is a return of €1.30 through VAT, salary payments to employees in the care sector and by limiting further medical expenses and absenteeism due to illness.’
The Oncological Care Research Group is studying the application of new technologies and development of tools for using quality of life to measure outcome and will be focusing on improving ‘care paths’ from intramural to extramural (hospital and social care services) and vice versa. Improvements are possible in terms of the patient experience, contribution and efficiency.
Van der Sijp condemns the ‘forest of check marks’, performance indicators imposed by professional associations, health care insurers, scientific organisations and the Public Health Inspectorate. ‘As long as there is a check, they consider it fine.’ A limited set of indicators that also measures care paths and is easy to use on the work floor would be a better solution.
In terms of higher professional education, Van der Sijp believes that practice-based research can play an important role. To fund this, he makes reference to the well-stocked reserves at health insurance companies. He wants to introduce students to oncological care at an early stage of the degree programme. He will also be teaching his students about ethical dilemmas in the field of care.
[read the inaugural lecture here]
See pictures of the inaugural lecture below