The Indices trigger a serious discussion
The performance indices, such as the Sustainability Index, create the opportunity to present known set of data in an attractive way. It is usually difficult to attract the attention of the general public, as well politicians’ engagement, just with the purpose of "exhausting" indicators. The most efficient method is to work with indices that include a lot of variables and give the possibility to compare and rank entities from the best to the worst. Therefore, the attractiveness of the Index’s results is based precisely on the fact that someone "wins" and someone else "loses" the competition presented by the Index. Perhaps the indicators themselves are not particularly fascinating, especially when there are so many of them, but if different countries are ranked in terms of the results they achieve, we start to build an interesting and desirable tension. In this slightly entertaining way, colored with competition, one can start a serious discussion about the purpose of the health system.
As I have already mentioned, the appropriate weights have been given to the indicators analyzed in the Sustainability Index, or in other words, experts have indicated which ones are more important. This is one of the index’s added values. Other important value is the composition of the Index itself, ie the possibility of selecting indicators from the end goal’s point of view. They were harmonized so that the creators are able to present their main goals, indicating preferences and priorities.
Undoubtedly, the Indices should be analyzed and ensure that the data on which they are based is reliable. One of the characteristics of the Indices is their systematic updates, allowing observation of the dynamics of changes in a given area. The cyclical nature of the Index’s publications allows observation of these changes and better control their course.
Unfortunately, Poland did not perform very well in the Sustainability Index. We ended up at the bottom of the scale, taking the last place within Europe. This result (41 points, while the average for the European Union is 54 points) makes us wonder what the reason for this state of affairs is. However, it is not only about the result in the Index, because it is possible to improve in a few selected parameters from the Index - the main objective is to start a discussion on health systems and identify areas for improvement. Comparing health care systems is not a literal race, but it is an opportunity to identify the best European models, from which an example can be taken, and therefore, the best solutions can be applied to each country. The Indices are also starting point for identification of healthcare elements, that need to be changed for the better. If we implement the appropriate solutions to the health care system, our position in the Index will be automatically corrected.
On the basis of the presented Sustainability Index one can publicly consider what is important in the health care system, what the priorities are and what should and can be improved. Opposite to popular beliefs, it is not always necessary to increase funding to improve performance. For example, despite Poland being in the 27th place in terms of financial outlays per person, we can boast of a good result in the field of inequality in access to income-dependent health care. In this particular indicator we rank tenth in Europe, so we have a very egalitarian system.
I hope that the results of the Index will translate into concrete solutions in our health care system, but also in all European Union countries, and the discussion will bring the expected effect.