Improved cost accounting within national European health systems has the potential to streamline the quality of cost data and radically improve health care. The EU-funded project PLICS (Implementing and using patient-level information and costing systems) investigated how management accounting could enhance organisational processes, performance and viability of public health care services. Traditionally, public health care providers have not been collecting high-quality cost data related to their field, an issue which has become of pivotal importance in the era of financial crisis. This is especially important for decision makers who must manage cost savings while maintaining a decent level of health care service. In this context the project team examined the dynamics governing management accounting tools, behaviours and outcomes. It looked at how these tools affect the quality of cost information and health care, in addition to outlining ways to improve national guidelines. Put more simply, the project investigated what the costs were attributed to rather than where the costs are produced, focusing on better health care processes instead of departments or units. Importantly, the project team studied how PLICS is being implemented in Britain's National Health System. It studied available literature on the topic and conducted an analysis through questionnaires, interviews and meetings. The results were presented through academic publications, presentations, discussion forums, workshops and various reports, contributing to invaluable insight on how better cost accounting can ultimately improve health care.
Health care, costing systems, cost savings, management accounting, cost accounting