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Health targets can help to improve the governance of health systems. They express a commitment to achieve specified outputs over a defined period, and allow progress towards broad goals and objectives to be monitored. They may be quantitative or qualitative, and based on outcomes or processes.
This book draws on a series of case studies on the use of health targets, written by experts from Catalonia (Spain), England (United Kingdom), Flanders (Belgium), France, Germany, Hungary and the Russian Federation. It reviews the major technical, managerial and political challenges of defining and implementing health targets. While they help focus attention on agreed goals, to realize their potential they need to be based on evidence, accepted by those who work to achieve them, be embedded in frameworks of mutual accountability, linked to appropriate incentives and/or sanctions and supported by an adequate intelligence infrastructure.
The experiences of these countries and regions can serve as examples to all those in government who strive to improve the performance of their health systems.