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Mariotti G, Siciliani L, Rebba V, Fellini R, Gentilini M, Benea G, Bertoli P, Bistolfi L, Brugaletta S, Camboa P, Casucci P, Dessi D, Faronato P, Galante M, Gioffredi A, Guarino TM, Pofi E, Liva C

Waiting time prioritisation for specialist services in Italy: the homogeneous waiting time groups approach.

Health Policy. 2014 Jul;117(1):54-63, PMID: 24576498

The demand for referrals and diagnostic procedures in Italy has been rising constantly in recent years, making access to diagnostic services increasingly difficult with significant waiting times. A number of Health Authorities (known as Local Health Units) have responded by implementing formalised waiting-time prioritisation tools, giving rise to what are known as Homogeneous Waiting Groups (HWGs). The study describes the implementation of the HWG approach in Italy. This represents a promising tool for improving the prioritisation of patients waiting to see a specialist or to receive a diagnostic test. The study of the Italian HWG experience provides useful insights to improve the outpatient referral process for those countries where the demand prioritisation policies have focused more on inpatient care than outpatient specialist care and diagnostic services.


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Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional IMIM - Parc de Salut Mar