Volume and diagnosis: an approach to cross-border care in eight European countries

Qual Saf Health Care. 2009 Feb;18 Suppl 1(Suppl_1):i8-14. doi: 10.1136/qshc.2008.029553.


Objectives: Mobility of patients is a pertinent issue on the European Union's agenda. This study aimed to estimate the volume and main diagnoses of cross-border care in eight European countries, in order to provide policy makers with background information about the nature of patient mobility in Europe.

Methods: This article reports the combined findings from three independent studies that compiled self-reported information on admissions data and main diagnoses from more than 200 hospitals in eight European countries.

Results: The average volume of cross-border patients accounted for less than 1% of total admissions in the hospitals studied here. Diseases of the circulatory system (mainly acute myocardial infarction) and fractures were the most common reasons for hospitalisation of European patients abroad. Deliveries and other diagnoses related to pregnancy, pneumonia, appendicitis and other diseases of the digestive system, aftercare procedures, and disorders of the eye and adnexa were also common diagnoses for this population.

Conclusions: Hospitals should reinforce their efforts to adapt the care provided to the needs of foreign patients in treatment areas that cover the most frequent pathologies identified in this population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe
  • Health Services Accessibility* / economics
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals / standards
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel