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Keywords:

  • prioritisation;
  • waiting time;
  • public health-care system

Abstract

This paper presents a new way to monitor priority settings in public health-care systems. We take departure in medical guidelines prescribing acceptable waiting times for different medical descriptions. Allocating ICD10 codes to the medical descriptions, we are able to compare actual waiting times to the recommended maximum waiting times. This way we use the medical guidelines as a tool for monitoring prioritisation in the health sector. In an application, using data from the Norwegian Patient Register, we test statistically for compliance with the guidelines. The results indicate that patients suffering from the most severe conditions are receiving too low priority in the Norwegian health-care sector relative to patients of lower priority. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.