Document Type : Original Article
The Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel
School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Strategic and Economic Planning Administration, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel
Public Health Services, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel
Medical Technology, Health Information and Research Directorate, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel
Department of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health Sciences & Guildford Glazer Faculty of Business and management, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
Considerable health inequities documented in Israel between communities, populations and regions, undermine the rights of all citizens to optimal health. The first step towards health equity is agreement on a set of national indicators, reflecting equity in healthcare provision and health outcomes, and allowing monitoring of the impact of interventions on the reduction of disparities. We describe the process of reaching a consensus on a defined set of national equity indicators.
The study was conducted between January 2019 and June 2020, in a multistage design: (A) Identifying appropriate and available inequity measures via interviews with stakeholders. (B) Agreement on the screening criteria (public health importance; gap characteristics; potential for change; public interest) and relative weighting. (C) Constructing the consultation framework as an online, 3-round Delphi technique, with a range of experts recruited from the health, welfare and education sectors.
Participants were of diverse age, gender, geographic location, religion and ethnicity, and came from academia, healthcare provision, government ministries and patient representative groups. Thirty measures of inequity, presented to participants, represented the following domains: Health promotion (11 indicators), acute and chronic morbidity (11), life expectancy and mortality (2), health infrastructures and affordability of care (4), education and employment (2). Of the 77 individuals contacted, 75 (97%) expressed willingness to participate, and 55 (73%) completed all three scoring rounds. The leading ten indicators were: Diabetes care, childhood obesity, adult obesity, distribution of healthcare personnel, fatal childhood injuries, cigarette smoking, infant mortality, ability to afford care, access to psychotherapy and distribution of hospital beds. Agreement among raters, measured as intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), was 0.75.
A diverse range of consultants reached a consensus on the most important national equity indicators, including both clinical and system indicators. Results should be used to guide governmental decision-making and inter-sectoral strategies, furthering the pursuit of a more equitable healthcare system.