INTRODUCTION: The recent global economic crisis is pushing governments worldwide to obtain a more explicit and urgent rationing of resources. The purpose of this study is to provide, through Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), a methodological framework useful for investigating technical efficiency of hospital care.
METHODS: To validate such framework, we compared 50 Italian public hospital trusts (AOs) to identify relative efficient using inputs and outputs from national databases. We also evaluated if, and how, efficiency is affected by various exogenous factors.
RESULTS: On average, Italian AOs had an efficiency score of 77% (SD 0.12). Tobit regression model identified a positive association between efficiency and a lower case-mix index, being in the north of the country, in a region with fiscal autonomy, with a higher public and a lower private expenditure on health as % of GDP.
CONCLUSIONS: DEA may provide useful and especially objective information regarding the technical efficiency of hospital care and support hospital management and policy makers decisions.