ABSTRACT: The financial sustainability of public health systems (PHS) is currently threatened by population growth, increased prevalence of chronic conditions and disabilities, inequality in access and use of resources, zero cost delivery and global economic crisis. The emergency department (ED) is one for which demand is highest--without relation to the health model--because disease becomes established in disadvantaged socio-demographic areas and inequalities, hyperconsumption and decision making more closely linked to the user are maintained. The medical device of ED is a multiple one and its diverse product lines make it difficult to measure. This review discusses the need to deploy measurement tools in ED, where there are high direct costs--primarily structural--and other variables related to the activity, where the marginal cost is higher than the average and there is no economy of scale in such interventions. The possible mechanisms of private copayment in financing the supply of EDs are also studied, showing their advantages and disadvantages, with the conclusion that they are not recommendable--due to their scarce fund raising and deterrent capacity, which is why fundamental strategic changes in the management of these resources are needed.
Anales del sistema sanitario de Navarra 01/2010; 33 Suppl 1:19-27. · 0.32 Impact Factor